Pravin K. Shah,
Jain Study Center of North Carolina
Islam was founded about 1,400 years ago in Arabia by Prophet Mohammed (early 7th century). There are about 950 million people follow Islam. They live mostly in Middle East, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Africa, China, Indonesia, Central Asia, and India.
Many Muslims believe that Prophet Mohammed is not the "founder" of Islam but he received the divine revelations recorded in the Koran during his life (570-632 AD). They regard that their religion is the restoration of the original religion of Abraham (Judaism) through Prophet Mohammed in the 7th century. They would also stress that Islam is a timeless religion, not just because of the eternal truth that it proclaims but also because it is every person's religion, the natural religion in which every person is born.
Islam recognizes God's sending of messengers to all peoples and his granting of "Scripture and Prophethood" to Abraham and his descendants which results in the awareness of a very special link between Muslims, Jews, and Christians as all Abraham's children. Today Islam is the world's fastest growing religion.
Sects and Major Scripture:
The Koran is the God's Speech. It is the sacred book of Islam explained as the religion of Abraham. There are two main divisions within Islam. The Sunnis are followers of the political successors of Mohammed. The Shites are followers of Mohammed's family successors all martyred at an early age.
The primary goal of Islam is to enjoy eternal life, both physical and spiritual in heaven with Allah (God).
Religious Philosophy, Belief, and Practice:
Islam is based upon five pillars or principle acts of faith to which every Moslem adheres.
Faith in Allah (Shahada): There is no God but God (Allah)
Ritual Prayer (Salat): Perform five times a day facing Mecca the holy city of Saudi Arabia.
Alms Giving (Zakat): Support the mosque and the poor
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