What is religion? Each person’s definition of religion is different. Each person’s faith is different. This is a question that has been asked for centuries, and regardless of the answer given there is no right or wrong answer. However, according to Emile Durkheim in ;Kenneth D. Allan (2 November 2005). Explorations in Classical Sociological Theory: Seeing the Social World. Pine Forge Press. p. 115. religion is "a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a Church all those who adhere to them. Religion is generally born out of culture where members of the culture create a system of beliefs and values. They also establish symbols that represent the belief structure and hold special meaning for believers. There are five major religions of the world these are: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. Religions can be divided geographically. The content of this essay will focus on Judaism and Islam. This section will begin by the writer giving a brief overview of both religions. Judaism is a one of the oldest religions known to people. Judaism was born about 4000 years ago. Many famous people have been Jewish such as Moses, Jesus, Mahler, Marx, Freud, and Einstein. The history of Jewish people hasn’t been that easy. From the slavery in Egypt to the Holocaust in Europe, the Jewish people have lived a life filled with prejudice. It began with Abraham, the first Jewish person. It is Jewish belief that he made a covenant with God and was promised that he would be the father of a great nation. That nation became the Jewish people. Abraham and his sons and grandsons were called the “patriarchs”. They were Isaac, his son, and Jacob, his grandson. Jacob’s favorite son Joseph was also an important part of the early history. It was because of Jacob’s sons and their wrong doings that Joseph ended up in Egypt, eventually leading many Jewish people into the land of Egypt. Moses was one of the most famous Jewish prophets. He led the Jewish people out of slavery, led them to Mount Sinai and received the Ten Commandments, a set of rules that people even today still follow. After Moses, the Jewish people had different leaders called judges, and then kings such as David and Solomon to guide them in the land called Israel. Jewish people lived in the land of Israel until 586BCE when they were exiled by the Babylonians. It wasn’t until 1948, about 2000 years later, that Jewish people were able to return to that land. History of Judaism: General Observations." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2004. Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. Islam is a monotheistic religious tradition that developed in the Middle East in the 7th century C.E. Islam, which literally means "surrender" or "submission," was founded on the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad as an expression of surrender to the will of Allah, the creator and sustainer of the world. The Quran, the sacred text of Islam, contains the teachings of the Prophet that were revealed to him from Allah. Essential to Islam is the belief that Allah is the one and true God with no partner or equal. Islam has several branches and much variety within those branches. The two divisions within the tradition are the Sunni and Shi'a, each of which claims different means of maintaining religious authority. One of the unifying characteristics of Islam is the Five Pillars, the fundamental practices of Islam. These five practices include a ritual profession of faith, ritual prayer, the zakat (charity), fasting, and the hajj (a pilgrimage to Mecca). Many Muslims are characterized by their commitment to praying to Allah five times a day. One of the defining characteristics of Islam is the primacy of sacred places including Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem. Muslims gather at mosques to worship Allah, pray, and study scripture. There is not a sharp distinction...
References: * Barns & Noble (Cambridge) Encyclopedia (1990)
* ."Encyclopædia Britannica. 2004. Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service.
* Kenneth Allan; Kenneth D. Allan (2 November 2005). Explorations in Classical Sociological Theory: Seeing the Social World. Pine Forge Press.
* Micheal Keene pages 64-65, (1997). The New Steps in Religious Education( 2nd Edition) Stanley Thornes. Publishers.
* Micheal Keene pages 62-63, (1997). The New Steps in Religious Education ( 2nd Edition). Stanley Thornes. Publishers.
* The Oxford Handbook of Global Religions (2006)
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