Religion is a hard word to define. Some might define religion as believing in a high power, deities, or a single God. Others define it as a belief system that has more to do with culture and traditions being past down from generation to generation than anything. According to Ask.com (n.d.), religion is define as the belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe. No one knows what the first religion was or when it was founded, but today there are countless religions that people are associate with. The top five religions of the world today are Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hindu. Over 33% of the world population consider themselves Christians, 21% Islam, Hindu is 14%, Buddhism 6% and Judaism 0.22% (Adherents.com, 2007).
The word Islam means “peace and to be in submission to God”. Islam is a religion that I have always had interested in, but have never done thorough research on until now. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, and the second largest religion behind Christianity. Of the five major religions that are practiced today, Islam is the youngest one and did not come into existence until 622 CE. The founder of was a man name Muhammad who was born in Mecca which is located in Saudi Arabia. His name means the “The Praised One” (Encyclopedia Britannica Online, 2007).
Mohammad’s father died before he was born, and his mother died when he was six years old. At the age of 25 he married a name Khadijah who was 15 years older then him. At the age of 40 years old, he claimed and tells a story of how he received a revelation from Allah (God). He says that Gabriel an Angel of Allah appeared to him one day while he was in a cave meditating and praying. The reason that Allah revealed this message to him was because Allah wanted him to re-establish the current religion that man had distorted by making changes to it (Encyclopedia Britannica Online, 2007).
I had a privilege to meet with someone from the Islam faith whose name is Shirin pronounced Shir as in Sheryl rin as in reindeer. I also had an opportunity to visit a mosque here in Arlington, TX, name Islamic Society of Arlington Texas (ISAT). This mosque was built in 1989 so the growing Muslims population in the area could have a place where they could come together under on roof to meet others Muslims in the area. It is a place for them to worship and pray to Allah. The learning experience was very educational to me. This young female was very pleasant and was willing to assist me in any way that she could. She was born in Iran in 1984 and came to the United States at the age of five. She was born a Muslim meaning that she did not later convert to this religion. I asked her what did it mean to be a Muslim, and she explained to me that being a Muslim meant that you believe in Islam, the Qur’an, and the Prophet Muhammad. She compared the Qur’an to the Christian’s Holy Bible. She says that all Muslims whether they are born one or converted later into the religion must believe in Allah who is God and that there are no other God but him. As a Muslims you must also believe that the Prophet Muhammad was a messenger from Allah, and you must submit and believe in his teaching. Another question I asked Shirin was could anyone become a Muslim, and her response was “Yes, all you have to do is believe in Allah, the Qur’an, the teaching of the Prophet Mohammad and that he was a messenger from Allah.” She said that anyone who believe in these things and wish to submit to Allah and the teaching of the Qur’an can become a Muslim. She explained that believing these things is a start to accepting the one and true religion, which is Islam.
One thing I learned from my interview, even though I have heard these two names over and over again on television was that Shiites and Sunnis were two groups within the Muslim and Islam faith. Shirin explained it like being Baptist or Roman Catholic, both groups...
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