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By roddric Jun 02, 2013 1147 Words
Cultural Discussion|

[A discussion and Identification of the history and location of the second largest religion and culture in the world, Islam and the followers of the faith, Muslims. A look at and description of the positive and negative points of the culture as well as ways in which Islam have affected and contributed to society.]|

Roddric DoddParagraph Word Count: 1041
Professor: Jason M. BrocatoTotal Word Count: 1128
Social Science 101-The Human Behavior Perspective
May 12, 2013
Cultural Discussion Paper
Section #1

Islam, a culture that I am least knowledgeable on, began in Mecca in western Saudi Arabia during the seventh century. Even though it is believed that this faith began with a small group of followers Islam is now one of the largest religion and culture practiced in the world today. It is said that Islam began with the prophet Muhammad during 570-632 AD when he was visited by an angel and received the message of Islam which believes “Allah is the only god” (Wuthnow 383). Those that submit themselves to this faith and Allah are called Muslims. Muhammad a business man from Mecca and the founder of Islam was born 570-571 AD (Rieber). He was born into one of the most powerful and influential tribe of the time, Quraish. Muhammad’s father was a successful merchant who died before Muhammad was born and his mother died when he was about eight years old, ultimately Muhammad was raised by his uncle. As an adult Muhammad married a woman of wealth by the name of Khadijah together they had six children (Rieber). According to Islamic history during one of Muhammad’s many trips to a secluded cave where he would meditate on life, Muhammad was visited by an angel who gave him the revelation of Islam and the message of the Qur’an which Muslim’s practice today. Muhammad’s journey to teaching the way of Islam and gaining followers was challenging during the first years, he started by sharing the message he received with only his closest friends and family members. Once Muhammad received what he believed was instructions from Allah to spread his message to all who would hear, he carried out the instructions and traveled far from his home of Mecca to share the Islamic message and gain devout followers. This message of Islam is said to be living one’s life practicing the faith as written in the Qur’an as well as being apart and involved in the life of the community of followers. The heart of the Islamic life is stated to be the “Five Pillars of Islam: publicly bearing witness to the basic affirmation of faith; saying prescribed prayers five times a day; fasting during the month of Ramadan; giving a tithe or alms for support of the poor; and making a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once during the believer’s lifetime, if this is possible” (Wuthnow 384). Muhammad’s leading and teaching of the first community of believers is divided into two major phases. During the first phase he proclaimed his message in cities where many did not accept his message because many of these cities could not accept Islam’s belief of only one god. During the second phase of Muhammad’s teaching of Islamic faith to the community of believers Muhammad accepted the request to become the judge and arbiter from the people of Yathrib. This was proven significant in the history of Islam as this date of his acceptance later became the beginning of the Islamic calendar and the city of Yathrib became known as the City of the Prophet or al-Medina (Wuthnow 387). The Islamic communities of believers were well established by 632AD, the year of Muhammad’s death. At this time in history, there were many Muslims throughout Mecca and the surrounding cities who prayed towards Mecca which was and is the center of pilgrimage for the new community. After the death of Muhammad, who Muslim followers believe to be the last prophet to complete the revelation of Allah, Muslims were concerned about continuing the teachings and message of Allah that was received by Muhammad. The focus of the Islam followers shifted to preserving and passing on the Islamic message, as well as keeping the community of followers strong and united. As a result of this new focus, new leaders were appointed over the Islam followers, known as Khalifahs or Caliphs, these men are not considered to be prophets themselves but successors to the last prophet, Muhammad. The first four successors were friends of the prophet Muhammad who ruled between 632-661AD, this time period is titled by most Muslims as the Rightly Guided Caliphate (Wuthnow 386). The spread of Islam to other countries was initially slow but once the communities of believers were established and the new successors were appointed the focus was now placed on the spreading and gaining of followers of Islam. During this time period of expansion Muslims occupied and took control of Persia, North Africa and Syria. This was a transformation in the Muslim communities from small cities to states which controlled many of the Arabian Peninsula to a large empire spanning from northwest Africa to Central Asia (Wuthnow 384). Today there are numerous countries throughout the world where Muslims can be found. The top ten countries with the largest Muslim population are: Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Egypt, Nigeria, Iran, Turkey, Algeria, and Morocco. (Miller, Tracy, Ed) “The second largest religion in the world, Islam has a total of about 1.62 billion members, or 23 percent of the entire world's population. About 49 countries have a Muslim majority, although Africa is the only continent with a Muslim majority. Most of the world's Muslim population lives in South Asia, particularly the countries of Indonesia, Pakistan, and India. Over 88 percent of Indonesia’s population follows Islam, and 96.4 percent of the population of Pakistan is Muslim. Countries nearing 100 percent Islamic populations include Morocco, Somalia, Afghanistan, Tunisia, Iran, and Western Sahara” (MapsofWorld). In the United States of America Muslim was identified in 20 states: South and Midwest: Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota and Wyoming as the largest non-Christian group according to the 2010 U.S Religious Census: Religious Congregation & Membership Study (RCMS). This very comprehensive study provided detailed county-by-county information on congregations, members, adherents and attendance for 236 faiths. According to the study Illinois was the state with the most Muslims with around 2.8 percent of the population identifying as Muslim adherents. The researchers found Montana to be the least Muslim state with only 0.034 percent identifying as Muslim adherents. Finally, the study showed more than 2.6 million Muslim adherents and 2,106 congregations were reported in 592 congregations across the country. |

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