The two largest religions in the world, Christianity and Islam, were implemented by two of religions most powerful leaders, Jesus and Muhammad. Without question, both Jesus and Muhammad have affected humanity powerfully. As religious leaders both men laid down the principles upon which Christianity and Islam are founded yet today. However, while Jesus performed miracles and arose from the dead, thus proving to his followers he was God, Muhammad performed no such feats, and made no such claims. In fact, Muhammad’s only claim was that he was the last prophet sent from God. While the events of September 11, 2001, cast the Islam religion in an unfavorable light, this has not dampened the enthusiasm of the Muslim members, nor has it stopped the Islam religion from growing. Obviously, with over one billion members worldwide, Islam is one of the largest religions in the world today. What is Islam, who is Muhammad, and how does Islam compare to Christianity? If Islam was founded by a mere man, what motivates people to not only join Islam, but remain faithful members? If one were to research the answer to these questions based upon media interpretation, the answers provided by the media would make Islam appear to be a religion of hatred and violence. On the contrary, as stated by Robinson (2007) the Islam religion is divided into many subgroups. Of those subgroups, “a very small, radical, hate-filled, extremist, Fundamentalist, terrorist wing does exist. So too does a much larger peaceful, moderate wing” (Islam: Is It a Religion of Violence or of Peace?, ¶3).
The lack of knowledge about Muslims by non-Muslims has caused a dangerous and growing unease between the two groups. Therefore, it is important to research carefully the Islam religion to discover what Islam has to offer (Miller, 2005). I conducted my research on the Islam religion by using the Internet as well as the library. In addition, I visited a local mosque to experience firsthand a Muslim prayer service. Finally, I interviewed a coworker to discover an inside view of the Islam religion from someone who practices the religion. The coworker has been a Muslim since birth and was very pleased to share his experiences with Allah (God) with me and was happy to answer my questions about Islam. My research of Islam started at the mosque. As I wanted to observe the mosque without offending or being bothered by anyone, I took pains to blend in. For instance, I borrowed a head scarf to cover my head. In addition, I left the makeup, jewelry, nail polish, and perfume at home. My first impression upon arriving at the mosque was that it was very drab and plain inside, as compared to how it looked on the outside. The religion I grew up in had beautifully decorated churches; while I wanted to ask why the mosque was so drab inside, I felt it would sound rude and unkind. Furthermore, I was disappointed to see the only chairs available to sit upon in the mosque were for pregnant, disabled, and elderly people. The religion I grew up in had nice, plump, padded pews for its members to sit upon. Again, I did not question why there were no pews as I felt it would be unkind. When the khutbah (sermon) started, I was prepared to gain significant insight on the Islam religion. However, the khutbah was hard to follow as the speaker did not speak English very well. Therefore, significant insight on the Islam religion was not gained through my listening to the khutbah. However, my visit to mosque was not totally in vain. The highlight of my mosque visit was the prayer portion that followed the khutbah. The prayers sounded like music as they were softly chanted. I found it fascinating to observe how each member became totally engrossed in praying. At times, it appeared as if the members were in a trance. All in all, my visit to the mosque did little to enlighten me on the Islam religion. However, I enjoyed observing a religious service different...
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