A look at Islam

Topics: Islam, Muhammad, Qur'an Pages: 7 (2240 words) Published: May 18, 2014
Course Project – A Look at Islam

SOCS 350 Cultural Diversity In Professions

A Look at Islam

Introduction
To those outside of the Islamic faith many facts of Islam are a mystery. Within the last decade the religion of Islam has received bad publicity due to the actions of terrorists and Muslim extremists groups. Their actions have created a popular belief that Islam is a cult and Muslim people are hate filled militants that are mainly from one region. The history and practice of Islam is based from a set of beliefs that focus on good will and peace and belief in one God. Muslims all around the world follow these original beliefs however variations in Islam practice and beliefs can also be found depending on region. Islam, Judaism and Christianity are considered Abrahamic faiths. Collectively they have similarities that are as numerous as their differences. History

The religion of Islam was founded during the 7th century in the Middle East. It is based off of the teachings of the prophet Muhammad. Before Muhammad was a prophet, he was a boy from Mecca whose parents had died so his grandfather therefore raised him. After the death of his grandfather he was taken in by his uncle and worked as a shepherd and camel trader. Muhammad was a spiritual man and kept from idol worship. This was not typical for people of that time in Mecca.

People from all over Arabia would go to the Kaaba, which was a house of worship for many idols. Muhammad would not participate and only worshiped one God, the God of Abraham. Muhammad would retreat to caves in the mountains near Mecca. For an entire month he would stay there and pray and meditate for answers to the meaning and purpose of his life. After the fifth year of this annual retreat the angel of Gabriel appeared to Muhammad and named him a messenger of God (O’Conner, 2009). Muhammad was commissioned to inform the public of One God and to be rid of other idols. Muhammad began his mission and called the religion Islam that means “submission to God”.

The Qur’an, also written Quran or Koran, is the written revelations that were given to the prophet Muhammad over a course of 23 years. These written teachings are believed to be the direct words of God introduced to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel. They are also believed to be unaltered and remained non-tampered with by man (O’Conner, 2009). It is the sacred book that all Muslims recite and go to for spiritual guidance. Qur’an is the Arabic word that means “that which is recited”.

Islam is structured on five beliefs. Like Christianity and Judaism, Islam is a monotheistic faith, which means that there is a belief in only one God, Allah. Allah is the Arabic word for God. Muslims believe that Allah is the “only creator, sustainer and restorer of the world” (Ali & Gallegos, 2011). The remainder four beliefs of Islam are belief in angels, belief in Allah’s messengers such as the prophet Muhammad, belief in the Qur’an, and belief in the day of resurrection also known as judgment day. There is also belief in an afterlife.

Muslims also follow five practices that are known as the five pillars. They are profession of faith, which is known as Shahadah, which every Muslim must accept that there is no other to believe in but Allah and that Muhammad was his messenger. The next is the practice of praying five times a day. This is called Salah or Salat. During Salah Muslims position their bodies by kneeling close to the ground and bowing while reciting specific prayers. The third practice is the act of giving to charity. This is called Zakah or Zakat. Muslims give 2.5% of their annual savings to the poor. The fourth practice is fasting known as Sawm. During the month of Ramadan, the 9th month of the Muslim lunar calendar, Muslims fast and keep from sexual activity from sunrise to sunset. This is done to serve as a spiritual cleansing and show of control over worldly habits. The final practice is Hajj. Hajj is the requirement...


References: Ali,M.M., & Gallegos, C. (2011). The religion of Islam: a comprehensive discussion of the sources, principles, and practices of Islam. Dublin, OH: Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam.
Heft, J. (2006). Passing the faith: transforming traditions for the next generation of Jews, Christians and Muslims. New York: Fordham University Press.
O’conner, F. (2009). History of Islam. New York: Rosen Publishing Group.
Peters, F.E. (2004). The children of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, Islam. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
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