Contemporary World History
Westwood College Online
People all over the world today are becoming more aware of the importance of beliefs and community and the effect different religions have on both. There are only a few true religions in the world, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christians, Judaism and Islam. Each of these major religions have many off springs and those off springs have grown new off springs. All religious choices come from a person’s desire to know where they come from and where they are going. Each major religion has only a handful of people who truly drive the expansion of the religion but there are many issues that drive that handful of people. Political issues, regional differences and even natural disasters tend to make each religion important at one time or another. Lately there seems to be a revival of the Islamic faith throughout the world. What has been the driving force behind this resurgence and who is in the driver’s seat?
The Islamic Revival
I. History of Religion in brief.
There are only a few true religions in the world, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christians, Judaism and Islam. Each of these major religions have many off springs and those off springs have grown new off springs. All religious choices come from a person’s desire to know where they come from and where they are going. Each major religion has only a handful of people who truly drive the expansion of the religion but there are many issues that drive that handful of people. History of Judaism begins in 2,085 BC; it is by far the oldest religion. Hinduism began in 1500 BC and Buddhism in 560 BC. Christianity began in 30 AD and Islam began about 580 years later in 610 AD. (islam, 2013) Each of these major religions have grown and flowed around the world as time has passed but they are all still strong and very much a part of millions of people’s lives. II. Growth of Islam
The seed of Islam was planted in 610 AD when Muhammad ibn Abdallah received messages from God which became the Quran (which means recitation). The founding of Islam took place in 622 AD when Muhammad and his followers migrated to Medina. By the time of his death, in 632, Muslims had conquered the Arabian Peninsula and within a century, Islam had spread to western India, the Caucasus, Turkey, North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula. Its furthest advance was to the heart of present day France where they were stopped. When Muhammad died his successor took over but not all Muslims agreed to who should be the new leader and Islam became split between the Sunnis and the Shiite, who believed that Muhammad’s son, Ali, should be the successor. Of the two sects the Sunnis are the more rigid and the larger of the two sects. (Tristam, 2013) Followers of Islam are very dedicated to their religion and follow the words of the Qur’an closely. The Qur’an states, "Let there be no compulsion in religion" (SpreadofIslam, 2001) this verse tells Muslims never to force people to convert to Islam. Anyone who accepts Islam under pressure might not be sincere. Converting to a religion by force or only in name would be useless and harmful to any faith community. This means they teach the religion and the faith and do not force anyone, even conquered people, to practice the religion. These to sects, Sunnis and Shiite, also have radical off shoots but all of these factors come together to make the Islamic religion what it is today. The Muslim countries began to grow from conquering other peoples but now it grows because the population in the Middle East has begun to move about the world. Even though the growth of Muslim control went quickly the adoption of the Islamic faith they practiced came slowly. The ten major oil reserve countries, six of them are ruled by Muslims, have a majority of Islamic followers in residence. Indonesia has the largest Islamic population with Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Egypt, Nigeria, Iran,...