Global History and Geography
9 June 2014
The world has many different belief systems. Each is distinctive, but all greatly influenced the lives of their followers and the society in which the belief system was practiced. Both Islam and Hinduism are belief systems that have shaped their nations, providing a sense of community to the people that choose to follow it.
Islam, which was founded in the seventh century, is a religion that dominates the Middle East and has spread throughout the world. The founder of Islam was the prophet Mohammad. It is a monotheistic religion, which is the belief in one God. The book of the Q’uran and the Five Pillars of Islam are the foundation on which strong Islamic culture and sense of community are built on. These strong characteristics are brought to light by the Sharia, which is Islamic canonical law. The Five Pillars of Islam gave a structure to Islamic religion. They are based on the ideals of profession of faith, prayer, almsgiving, fasting, and a hajj, which is the act of making a pilgrimage to the city of Mecca. For example, each follower is expected to pray five times a day facing Mecca. Other restrictions such as not drinking alcohol and not eating pork shape the lives of many.
Hinduism is an ancient religion which represents a blend of influence of traditional Indian beliefs. Hinduism is a polytheistic religion, which is the belief in many gods. Although the religion is polytheistic, Hindus believe in the concept of these many gods being unified under the power force of one spirit, known as the brahma. Hinduism provided order and stability through the development of the caste system. The caste system divided people by their class. At the top of this “pyramid” were the priests and religious leaders. Next were the warriors, followed by the landowners and merchants. The step below that were the “untouchables”, the lowest of the low. Tasks such as butchering