Muslims follow a lunar calendar which started with the
hegira, a 300 mile trek in 622 CE when Mohammed
relocated from Mecca to Medina.
In the name of Allah,
What is Islam?
Islam is not a new religion, but
the same truth that God
revealed through all His
prophets to every people. For a
fifth of the world's population,
Islam is both a religion and a
complete way of life. Muslims
follow a religion of peace,
mercy, and forgiveness, and
the majority have nothing to do
with the extremely grave events
which have come to be
associated with their faith.
Who are the Muslims?
One billion people from a vast range of races,
nationalities and cultures across the globe - from
the southern Philippines to Nigeria - are united
by their common Islamic faith. About 18% live in
the Arab world; the world's largest Muslim
community is in Indonesia; substantial parts of
Asia and most of Africa are Muslim, while
significant minorities are to be found in the
Soviet Union, China, North and South America,
What do Muslims believe?
Muslims believe in One, Unique, Incomparable God;
in the Angels created by Him;
in the prophets through whom His revelations were
brought to mankind;
in the Day of Judgement and individual accountability for
in God's complete authority over human destiny and in life
Muslims believe in a chain of prophets starting with Adam and including
Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Moses, Aaron,
David, Solomon, Elias, Jonah, John the Baptist, and Jesus, peace be
But God's final message to man, a reconfirmation of the eternal message
and a summing-up of all that has gone before was revealed to the
Prophet Muhammad through Gabriel.
How does someone become a
Simply by saying the
Shahadah: ‘There is
no god apart from
God, and Muhammad
is His Messenger.'
By this declaration the
his or her faith in all
God, his messenger
Muhammad, and the
scriptures he brought.
What does 'Islam' mean?
• The Arabic word 'Islam' (slm) simply means
'submission' and derives from a word meaning 'peace'.
• In a religious context it means complete submission to
the will of God. 'Mohammedanism' is thus a misnomer
because it suggests that Muslims worship Muhammad
rather than God. 'Allah' is the Arabic name for God,
which is used by Arab Muslims and Christians alike.
• Slm (salom) means “peace” and “submission” for the
Christians and Jews also, since “Jeru-salem” means
“city of peace.” In Hebrew, the same word is spelled,
Why does Islam often seem
Islam may seem exotic or even extreme in the
modern world. Perhaps this is because religion
does not dominate everyday life in the West
today, whereas Muslims have religion always
uppermost in their minds, and make no division
between secular and sacred.
They believe that the Divine Law, the Shari'a,
should be taken very seriously, which is why
issues related to religion are still so important.
Do Islam and Christianity have
• No. Together with Judaism, they go back to the
prophet and patriarch Abraham, and their three
prophets are directly descended from his sons
Muhammad from the eldest, Ishmael, and
Moses and Jesus from Isaac.
• Abraham established the settlement which today
is the city of Makkah (Mecca), and built the
Ka'ba (Kaba/Kabaa) towards which all Muslims
turn when they pray.
What is the Ka'ba?
The Ka'ba is the place of worship which
God commanded Abraham and
Ishmael to build over four thousand
The building was constructed of stone on
what many believe was the original
site of a sanctuary established by
God commanded Abraham to summon
all mankind to visit this place, and
when pilgrims go there today they say
'At Thy service, O Lord', in response
to Abraham's summons.
Who is Muhammad?
Muhammad, was born in Makkah in the year 570, at a time when
Christianity was not yet fully established in Europe. Since his
father died before his birth, and his mother shortly afterwards, he
was raised by his uncle from the respected tribe of Quraysh. As he
grew up, he became known for his truthfulness, generosity and
sincerity, so that he was sought after for his ability to arbitrate in
disputes. The historians describe him as calm and meditative.
As a youth, he was employed as a camel driver on the trade routes
between Syria and Arabia. Mohammed later managed caravans
on behalf of merchants. He met people of different religious beliefs
on his travels, and was able to observe and learn about Judaism,
Christianity and the indigenous Pagan religions.
How did Muhammad become a
prophet and a messenger of God?
At the age of 40, while engaged
in a meditative retreat,
Muhammad received his first
revelation from God through
the Angel Gabriel. This
revelation, which continued for
twenty-three years, is known
as the Quran. The Mountain of Light
where Gabriel came to
As soon as he began to recite the words he heard
from Gabriel, and to preach the truth which God
had revealed to him, he and his. small group of
followers suffered bitter persecution, which grew
so fierce that in the year 622 God gave them the
command to emigrate. This event, the Hijra,
'migration', in which they left Makkah (Mecca) for
the city of Madinah (Medina) some 260 miles to
the north, marks the beginning of the Muslim
After several years, the Prophet and his followers The Prophet's
were able to return to Makkah, where they Madinah: the
forgave their enemies and established Islam dome indicates
definitively. Before the Prophet died at the age of where his
63, the greater part of Arabia was Muslim, and house stood
within a century of his death Islam had spread to and where
he is buried.
Spain in the West and as far East as China.
Until the moment that Muhammad
began spreading the message he
heard from the angel Gabriel 13
centuries ago, the Arabs were mostly
polytheists, worshiping tribal deities.
They had no sacred history linking
them to one universal god, like other
Middle Eastern peoples. They had
no sacred text to live by, like the
Bible; no sacred language, as
Hebrew is to Jews and Sanskrit is to
Hindus. Above all, they had no
prophet sent to them by God, as
Jews and Christians could boast.
How did the spread of Islam
affect the world?
Among the reasons for the rapid and peaceful spread of Islam
was the simplicity of its doctrine - Islam calls for faith in only
One God worthy of worship. It also repeatedly instructs
man to use his powers of intelligence and observation.
Within a few years, great civilizations and universities were
flourishing, for according to the .Prophet, 'seeking knowledge is an
obligation for every Muslim man and woman.'
The synthesis of Eastern and Western ideas and of new thought with
old, brought about great advances in medicine, mathematics,
physics, astronomy, geography, architecture, art, literature, and
history. Many crucial systems such as algebra, the Arabic
numerals, and also the concept of the zero (vital to the
advancement of mathematics), were transmitted to medieval
Europe from Islam.
Sophisticated instruments which were to make possible the
European voyages of discovery were developed, including the
astrolabe, the quadrant and good navigational maps.
The Spread of Islam
By 750 C.E., Islam had spread from Madinah to all of Arabia, then
Mesopotamia, Egypt, most of the coastal regions of North Africa,
and into Iberia.
The major ruling groups of the Middle East at the time, the Christian
Byzantines and the Persian Sasanids, had exhausted themselves
after years of warfare, weakening their empires and enabling the
Muslims to fill a power vacuum.
The ease with which Islam spread eastward and westward in the 200
years after the death of Muhammad is further explained by
theological divisions and intra-religious persecution within the
Many Christians in these lands, particularly those from persecuted
sects, welcomed the arrival of the Muslims, and converted freely to
Islam over the years.
The Crusades: 1096 to 1289
Beginning in 1096, some Christian Europeans heeded the call of the
papacy to launch a series of ―holy wars‖ aimed at gaining control of
Jerusalem from the Muslim Arabs and Seljuk Turks.
In all, eight crusades were carried out. Jerusalem fell to the
Christians in 1099, partly due to the disarray among Muslims. It
took Muslims nearly half a century to respond effectively with their
own call for defensive jihad, which required fighting against the
Under the leadership of Salah al-Din, the Muslims effectively ended
the Christian hold on the Holy Land in 1187, shortly after which
Jerusalem was restored to Muslim control.
It would be another 100 years, however, before the last Christian
strongholds (Tripoli and Acre) fell to the Muslims.
In general, the Muslims considered the Crusades to be an invasion
by European outsiders, and history indicates that the Europeans
treated Muslims and Jews much more harshly in comparison to
Muslim treatment of Christians.
The Christian sacking of Jerusalem and the massacre of its Muslim
and Jewish residents during the first Crusade are often
remembered as tragic historical examples of religious intolerance.
The Ottoman Empire: 1350 to 1918
This greatest of the Muslim states in terms of duration was founded
in the late 13th century by the Ottoman Turks.
It lasted until its dissolution after . I in 1918. Its early phase
challenged the Byzantine Empire, Bulgaria, and Serbia.
In 1389, much of the Balkan Peninsula came under Ottoman rule.
The Ottomans conquered Constantinople in 1453, bringing to
an end the 1100-year-rule of the Byzantine Empire/ Next the
Ottomans gained control of Mamluk Egypt in 1517, followed by
Algiers and most of present-day Hungary by 1529, all of Persia
in 1638, and most of the region between the Black and
Caspian Seas by the 1650s. These so-called Ottoman wars of
conquest fixed in the imagination of the Europeans the image
of the Muslim Turks as ferocious and religiously inspired
Beginning in the 1780s, the Ottoman Empire began to
. gained strength and began
weaken, as European powers
to vie with each other for access to resources and markets
in the Middle East.
Most of the northern coast of the Black Sea had slipped away
by 1812. The Ottoman Empire lost Greece, Egypt, and
Serbia to European-inspired independence movements
over the next 60 years.
By 1900, Turkey was known as the ―Sick Man of Europe,‖ And
by 1912, it had lost nearly all of its European territories.
Siding with Germany and the losing Central Powers in World
War I doomed the Empire. With the signing of the armistice
ending WWI, the Ottoman Empire was dismantled by the
Allied Powers, paving the way for the creation of new
individual states in the modern Middle East.
• There are two texts:
the Qur'an are the words of
God. This was originally in
oral and written form; they
were later assembled
together into a single book,
the Qur'an. Its name is often
spelled "Koran" in English.
This is not recommended,
as some Muslims find it
offensive. The Hadith, which
are collections of the
sayings of Mohammed.
What is the Qur’an?
The Qur’an is a record of the exact words revealed
by God through the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet
Muhammad. It was memorized by Muhammad
and then dictated to his Companions, and
written down by scribes, who cross-checked it
during his lifetime. Not one word of its 114
chapters, suras, has been changed over the
centuries, so that the Quran is in every detail the
unique and miraculous text which was revealed
to Muhammad fourteen centuries ago.
Surah 1. The Opening
1. In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
2. Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the
3. Most Gracious, Most Merciful;
4. Master of the Day of Judgment.
5. Thee do we worship, and Thine aid we seek.
6. Show us the straight way,
7. The way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace,
those whose (portion) is not wrath, and who go not astray.
chapter of The
Quran, the Fatiah,
is central in
Islamic prayer. It
essence of The
Quran and is
Boys studying the Qur’an
What is the Quran about?
The Quran, the last revealed Word of God, is the prime source of
every Muslim's faith and practice. It deals with all the subjects
which concern us as human beings: wisdom, doctrine, worship,
and law, but its basic theme is the relationship between God and
His creatures. At the same time it provides guidelines for a just
society, proper human conduct and an equitable economic
Are there any other sacred sources?
Yes, the sunna, the practice and example of the Prophet, is the
second authority for Muslims. A hadith is a reliably transmitted
report of what the Prophet said, did, or approved. Belief in the
sunna is part of the Islamic faith.
How do Muslims Worship?
In Islam, the term ‘ibadah (service, worship) does not merely signify
the ritualistic activities such as Salah (ritual Prayer), fasting, Zakah
(obligatory alms) or Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah). It includes all the
activities of a believer that are in accordance with the laws of Allah
(God). When a Muslim performs all the activities of his life for the
pleasure of Allah, then all his deeds become ‘ibadah or worship.
Naturally this includes his ritualistic worship, such as prayer, as
Islam requires a person to submit himself whole-heartedly and fully to
Allah. Thus, surrendering all the areas of one’s activity to Allah,
leaving nothing to the whims and fancies of anyone else, is in fact
the true meaning of Islam.
The Qur’an shows that there are only two ways laid out before Man:
one is the way of Allah and the other is the way of the Devil. A
person cannot stand with one foot in Allah’s way and the other in
the Devil’s way.
Islam does not value rituals for the sake of ceremony.
A Muslim is one who has willfully submitted his whole self to Allah,
and his duty then is just to obey Him. A Muslim cannot split his life
into compartments and say, ―This is the area of my religion where I
will obey Allah and these are the areas where I will follow others.‖
For service and worship are one in Islam. By following or obeying
others than Allah, one is, in effect, worshiping them, which is a
contradiction of the first item of Muslim belief: there is none worthy
of worship but Allah.
The officials of the Mosque are, the
"iman" (leader), the "preacher",
and the "muezzin" (who calls to
prayer from the minaret). No
Over time, many rooms were
added to the mosque, rooms
used by people of different social
classes, people performing their
professions in the mosque,
travelers, sick, and old. Devout
and ascetics lived often in the
mosque, and even in the
In most mosques, men and women
All mosques have an interior wall
. with a empty arch that faces
Mecca. This directs the
worshipper as he bows to
The interpreters of the Scriptures
are the "mullahs" or "ulemas,"
who serve as religious
teachers and judges in the
Prayer is a cardinal tenet in
Islamic religiosity, the second
foremost duty after profession
of faith, the shahadah.
Prayer is a distinctive component of a Muslim’s personality and
routine; his day begins and ends with a prayer. According to a
famous hadith (the tradition of the Prophet), a Muslim who
deliberately fails to observe his/her prayers ceases to be one in
practice.10 Prayer is a testament of genuine obedience to God.
The five obligatory prayers are the early morning prayer (salat al-fajr),
the noon prayer (salat al-zuhr), the mid-afternoon prayer (salat al-
’asr), the sunset prayer (salat al-maghrib) and the evening prayer
(salat al-’isha’). On Fridays, the noon congregational prayer (salat
al-Jum’a) substitutes for the regular noon prayer.
As prayer penetrates the entire fiber of the worshipper’s being the
whole world becomes like a mosque (masjid) to him — ever
conscious of the pervasive presence of God around him. His
action becomes the replica of the godliness that constitutes his
inner self. This is because he prostrates himself before God, not
as a matter of routine, but in sincere spirit of obeisance.
Performance of prayer
.adhan can be heard from the top
The arrival of a prayer time is announced by ―the call to prayer‖
(adhan). In Muslim societies the
of minarets, on loudspeakers, radio and television. The caller,
mu’adhin, in a melodious voice, intones the greatness of God and
invites the faithful to prayer in the following phrases (repeated at
God is most great. I bear witness that there is no god but the One
God. I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God.
Hasten to prayer! Hasten to success! God is most great. There is
no god but the true One God.
The phrase ―prayer is better than sleep‖ is added immediately after
―hasten to success‖ when the call is proclaimed for the early
morning prayer to remind Muslims of the bliss that prayer affords
them in the hereafter.
Before the worshipper approaches this sacred duty, he is first and
foremost enjoined to enter in a state of ―sacral purity‖by performing
ablution or ritual washing (wudu’). Prayer is worthless without
Ablution consists of washing with pure water one’s hands, mouth,
nostrils, face, and the arms to the elbows, wiping the head and the
ears, and washing the feet to the ankle. Ablution also symbolizes a
sense of hygiene as well as purification for the soul.
Like all other Islamic ritual observances, ablution must be preceded
by niyyah, a solemn declaration of intention for which the act is for,
i.e. worship. By this act the worshipper consciously summons the
resolve to enter into a meeting with his Lord.
When the ablution is complete, then the worshipper is ready to
commence the prayer. He makes sure his garment and prayer
ground are free of any pollution. A prayer rug or any material
chosen for that matter usually delineates the prayer ground.
What are the 'Five Pillars' of
They are the framework of the Muslim life: faith,
prayer, concern for the needy, self-purification,
and the pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca) for those
who are able.
A Muslim's duties as described in the FIVE PILLARS of
Islam are: .
– 1) to recite at least once during their lifetime the shahadah (the
creed: "There is no God but God and Mohammed is his
Prophet"). Most Muslims repeat it at least daily.
– 2) to perform the salat (prayer) 5 times a day. This is recited
while orienting one's body towards Mecca. It is done in the
morning, at noon, midafternoon, after sunset and just before
– 3) to donate regularly to charity through zakat, a 2.5% charity
tax, and through additional donations to the needy as the
individual believer feels moved.
– 4) to fast during the month of Ramadan. This is believed to be
the month that Mohammed received the Qur'an from God.
– 5) if economically and physically, to make at least one hajj
(pilgrimage) to Mecca
Five Pillars of Faith movie
There is no god worthy of worship except God and Muhammad is
His messenger. This declaration of faith is called the
Shahada, a simple formula which all the faithful pronounce. In
Arabic, the first part is la ilaha illa Llah - 'there is no god
except God'; ilaha (god) can refer to anything which we may
be tempted to put in place of God - wealth, power, and the
like. Then comes illa Llah: 'except God', the source of all
Creation. The second part of the Shahada is Muhammadun
rasulu'Llah: 'Muhammad is the messenger of God.' A
message of guidance has come through a man like ourselves.
2) PRAYER .
Salat is the name for the obligatory prayers which are
performed five times a day, and are a direct link between
the worshipper and God. There is no hierarchical authority
in Islam, and no priests, so the prayers are led by a
learned person who knows the Quran, chosen by the
congregation. These five prayers contain verses from the
Quran, and are said in Arabic, the language of the
Revelation, but personal supplication can be offered in
one's own language.
Prayers are said at dawn, .
sunset and nightfall,
and thus determine the
rhythm of the entire
day. Although it is
preferable to worship
together in a mosque, a
Muslim may pray
almost anywhere, such
as in fields, offices,
universities. Visitors to
the Muslim world are
struck by the centrality
of prayers in daily life.
A translation of the Call to
God is most great. God is most great.
God is most great. God is most great.
I testify that there is no god except
I testify that there is no god except
I testify that Muhammad is the
messenger of God.
I testify that Muhammad is the
messenger of God.
Come to prayer! Come to prayer!
Come to success (in this life and the
Come to success!
God is most great. God is most great.
There is no god except God.
3) THE 'ZAKAT' .
One of the most important principles of Islam is that all
things belong to God, and that wealth is therefore held by
human beings in trust. The word zakat means both
'purification' and 'growth'. Our possessions are purified by
setting aside a proportion for those in need, and, like the
pruning of plants, this cutting back balances and
encourages new growth.
Each Muslim calculates his or her own zakat
individually. For most purposes this involves the payment
each year of two and a half percent of one's capital.
4) THE FAST
Every year in the month of Ramadan, all Muslims fast from first
light until sundown, abstaining from food, drink, and sexual
relations. Those who are sick, elderly, or on a journey, and
women who are pregnant or nursing are permitted to break the
fast and make up an equal number of days later in the year. If
they are physically unable to do this, they must feed a needy
person for every day missed. Children begin to fast (and to
observe the prayer) from puberty, although many start earlier.
Although the fast is most beneficial to the health, it is regarded
principally as a method of self purification. By cutting oneself off
from worldly comforts, even for a short time, a fasting person
gains true sympathy with those who go hungry as well as
growth in one's spiritual life.
5) PILGRIMAGE (Hajj) .
The annual pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca) - the Hajj - is an
obligation only for those who are physically and financially able to
perform it. Nevertheless, about two million people go to Makkah
each year from every corner of the globe providing a unique
opportunity for those of different nations to meet one another.
Although Makkah is always filled with visitors, the annual Hajj
begins in the twelfth month of the Islamic year (which is lunar, not
solar, so that Hajj and Ramadan fall sometimes in summer,
sometimes in winter). Pilgrims wear special clothes: simple
garments which strip away distinctions of class and culture, so
that all stand equal before God.
Road sign in Mecca
Pilgrims praying at the mosque in Mecca
A new covering for the Ka’ba is
made every year, and it takes
about a full year to hand-stitch
the covering – much of which is
sewn with gold thread
The rites of the Hajj, which are of Abrahamic origin, include
circling the Ka'ba seven times, and going seven times
between the mountains of Safa and Marwa as did Hagar
during her search for water. Then the pilgrims stand
together on the wide plain of Arafa and join in prayers for
God's forgiveness, in what is often thought of as a preview
of the Last Judgment.
In previous centuries the Hajj was an arduous undertaking.
Today, however, Saudi Arabia provides millions of people
with water, modern transport, and the most up-to-date
The close of the Hajj is marked by a festival, the Eid al-Adha,
which is celebrated with prayers and the exchange of gifts
in Muslim communities everywhere. This, and the Eid al-
Fitr, a feast-day commemorating the end of Ramadan, are
the main festivals of the Muslim calendar.
-------------------- The Great Mosque --------------------------------------
Stampede Kills 345 At Hajj Ritual
MINA, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 12, 2006
At least 345 Muslim pilgrims were
trampled to death and almost 300
injured Thursday as they tripped
over luggage in a scramble to hurl
pebbles at symbols of Satan during
the annual pilgrimage, Saudi
It was the latest in a succession of
stampede tragedies to hit the hajj
pilgrimage despite efforts of the
Saudi authorities to avoid a repeat
of disasters like the one that killed
1,426 people in 1990.
Does Islam tolerate other
The Quran says: God forbids you not, with regards to those who fight
you not for [your] faith nor drive you out of your homes, from
dealing kindly and justly with them; for God loveth those who are
just. (Quran, 60:8)
Of course, saying that God does not forbid you from dealing kindly
and justly is NOT the same as saying that God commands you to
deal kindly and justly. We will return to this idea is a few minutes.
It is one function of Islamic law to protect the privileged status of
minorities, and this is why non-Muslim places of worship have
. History provides many
flourished all over the Islamic world.
examples of Muslim tolerance towards other faiths: when the
caliph Omar entered Jerusalem in the year 634, Islam granted
freedom of worship to all religious communities in the city.
Islamic law also permits non-Muslim minorities to set up their own
courts, which implement family laws drawn up by the minorities
When the caliph Omar took Jerusalem from the Byzantines, he
insisted on entering the city with only a small number of his
companions. Proclaiming to the inhabitants that their lives and
property were safe, and that their places of worship would never
be taken from them, he asked the Christian patriarch Sophronius
to accompany him on a visit to all the holy places.
The Patriarch invited him to pray in the Church of the Holy
Sepulchre, but he preferred to pray outside its gates,
saying that if he accepted, later generations of Muslims
might use his action as an excuse to turn it into a mosque.
Above is the mosque built on the spot where Omar did
According to Islam, man is not born in 'original sin'. He is
God's viceregent on earth. Every child is born with the fitra,
an innate disposition towards virtue, knowledge, and
beauty. Islam considers itself to be the 'primordial religion',
din al-hanif, it seeks to return man to his original, true
nature in which he is in harmony with creation, inspired to
do good, and confirming the Oneness of God.
Black Muslim Movement (BMM)
Muslims cannot totally deny that there has
been some intolerance of other faiths
and of other races.
The BMM is largely a black urban
movement in the US. One driving force
was a rejection of Christianity as the
religion of the historically oppressing
white race. It was started by Wallace
Fard who built the first temple in
Detroit. Elijah Muhammad (born Elijah
Poole) established a second temple in
Chicago and later supervised the Elijah Muhammad
creation of temples in most large cities
with significant black populations.
They.taught that blacks were racially
superior to whites and that a racial
war is inevitable. The charismatic
Malcolm X was perhaps their most
famous spokesperson; he played
an important role in reversing the
BMM's anti-white beliefs. In its
earlier years, the movement
deviated significantly from
traditional Islamic beliefs
(particularly over matters of racial tolerance and the status of the
BMM leaders as prophets). This deviation is being reversed.
Common Islamic Beliefs
• strict monotheism. God is the • belief in Paradise, a place of
creator, is just, omnipotent physical and spiritual
and merciful pleasure where the sinless
• respect for earlier prophets go after death
and belief in their teachings: • abstinence from alcohol and
Abraham, Moses and Jesus gambling
• that Mohammed is the last of • rejection of racism
the prophets • avoid the use of alcohol,
• belief in the existence of other drugs, eating of pork,
Satan who drives people to etc.
sin • avoid gambling
• that Muslims who sincerely • that Jesus is a prophet. They
repent and submit to God regard the Christian concept
return to a state of of the deity of Jesus to be
• belief in Hell where • that Jesus was not executed
unbelievers and sinners on the cross
Divisions Within Islam
Because of Islam's great growth geographically in the first two
centuries of its inception, there needed to be a larger set of Islamic
laws capable of handling the different needs of Muslims
throughout the Empire. The Qur'an and the Hadith were not
detailed enough to provide all the answers. Therefore, in the 8th
century A.D., there arose a school of legal experts who interpreted
and applied Islamic principles to different situations throughout the
Empire. However, different scholars disagreed with these experts
in various areas. This led to a variety of legal schools of thought
These different schools became different sects within Islam. The
largest of the sects is the Sunni which comprises about 90% of all
Muslims. The next two largest are the Shi'i and Sufi. After these,
there are numerous splinter groups which are often named after
the individual scholars who began them: Hanifa, Maliki, Shafi'i,
Zaydi, the Nusayri, Ismaili, Murji'ah, etc.
1) Followers of the Hanafi, Shafi, Hanibal, and Malik legal schools
are called Sunni Muslims and constitute a 90% majority of the
believers. They are considered to be main stream traditionalists.
Because they are comfortable pursuing their faith within secular
societies, they have been able to adapt to a variety of national
cultures, while following their three sources of law: the Qur'an,
Hadith, and consensus of Muslims.
The Sunni emphasize the power and sovereignty of Allah and his
right to do whatever he wants with his creation. Strict determinism
is taught. Its rulership is through the Caliphate, the office of
Muslim ruler who is considered the successor to
Muhammad. This successor is not through hereditary lineage.
2) Followers of the Jafri school are called Shi'ite Muslims (or Shi’a)
and constitute a small minority of Islam. They split from the Sunnis
.of the fourth caliph in 661. Shi'ites
over a dispute about the successor to Mohammed. This split
occured after the assassination
believe that the successor to Muhammad should have been Ali,
his son in law, and that subsequent successors should have been
through his lineage through his wife Fatima.
Shi'ism is broken into three main sects: the Twelve-Imam, the Zaydis,
and the Ismailis. Each group, of course, has differences of
Shi'ite theology includes a doctrine known as the five supports: these
are Divine Unity (tawhid), prophecy (nubuwwah), resurrection of
the soul and body at the Judgment (ma'ad), the Imamate
(imamah), and justice ('adl). The first three are found in Sunni
Islam, albeit with some differences of emphasis; the Imamate,
however , is the essence of Shi'ism, and the last, justice, is an
inheritance from the Mu'tazilites, or rationalists, whose system is in
many ways perpetuated in Shi'ite theology.
The Imamate, fom the word "Imam", in the Shi'ite traditions is the
political and religious leader of the Shi'ite sect. This person
possess great power and influence. According to Shi'ite doctrine,
the Imam must be a biological successor of Ali. The Imam is also
sinless and infallible on all matters of Islamic doctrine and will
intercede for Muslims in the afterlife. The Shi'i and the Sunni differ
in some interpretations of the Qur'an and Hadith and even have a
different canon of Hadith and the Sunni.
3) The Sufi are a mystical tradition where the followers seek inner
mystical knowledge of God. This sect "officially" developed around
the 10th century and has since fragmented into different
orders: Ahmadiyya, Qadariyya, Tijaniyya, etc. Of course, the Sufi
believe their roots can be traced back to the inception of Islam in
the early 7th century.
The Sufi mystic must follow a path.of deprivation and
meditation. There are various forms of abstinence and
poverty. Worldly things are renounced and a complete trust in
God's will is taught. The goal is to attain to a higher knowledge
and experience of Allah. The mystical focus meant that the Qur'an
could be interpreted in different ways and so Sufism taught that
the Qur'an had mystical meanings hidden within its pages. Out of
this mysticism a type of pantheism developed among some Sufi
believers. Pantheism is the teaching that God and the universe
are one. Of course, the orthodox Muslims, called the Sunni, reject
this idea since they claim that Allah is the creator of the universe
and distinct from it.
In part, Sufism arose as a reaction to the growing Islamic materialism
that had developed in the Empire at that time. Islam had achieved
great power and geographical scope and with it, the material gain
The Sufi "Whirling Derisshes":
The greatest of the Sufi poets is."Meluana
Celadin Rumi" (1207-73), from Turkey, whose
work, "Masvani," is considered second only to
the Koran, and it was Rumi who advocated and
influenced the development of the "whirling
dervishes," twirl dancing around the master, as a
means of achieving oneness with God... it
requires 1,001 hours to master the dance, once
secret, now performed openly.
They used to retreat to the desert where they live
as wandering ascetics, abstaining from all
worldly pleasures and dressing in woolen robes,
"sufis"... and there are several "orders," like the
Christian monastic orders.
• 4) An interesting minor division . the Ahmadis: Followers of the
Ahmadiyya Movement believe that God sent Ahmad as a Messiah,
"a messenger of His in this age who has claimed to have come in
the spirit and power of Jesus Christ. He has come to call all people
around one Faith, i.e. Islam..." The movement's founder was
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908). He was born in
Qadian, India. He felt that he had a mandate from God to correct a
serious error within Christianity. Most Christians believe that Jesus
is a member of the Godhead. "...because Jesus, whom God sent
as a Messiah to the Israelites was taken for a God, Divine jealousy
ordained that another man [Ahmad] should be sent as Messiah so
that the world may know that the first Messiah was nothing more
than a weak mortal."
Islamic Sects Sunni
Twelver - Ithna-Ashari
Sevener – Ismaili (Hashashin)
Fiver - Zaydi
Kharijite / Ibadite
Within the Islamic vision of this world, there are rules that govern
the lives of the Moslems themselves, and these rules are very
strict. In fundamentals, there are no differences between
schools of law.
However, there are four streams of factions within Islam with
differences between them concerning the minutiae of the laws.
All over the Islamic world, countries have favored one or
another of these schools of laws.
The strictest school of law is called Hanbali, mainly coming out of
There are no games there, no playing around with the meanings
There are various perspectives in Islam with different
interpretations over the centuries. There were good people that
were very enlightened in Islam that tried to understand things
differently. They even brought traditions from the mouth of the
prophet that women and children should not be killed in war.
These more liberal streams do exist, but there is one thing that
is very important for us to remember.
The Hanbali school of law is extremely strict, and today this is the
school that is behind most of the terrorist powers. Even if we
talk about the existence of other schools of Islamic law, when
we're talking about fighting against the Jews, or fighting against
the Christian world led by America, it is the Hanbali school of
law that is being followed.
2. Islamic Law - Shari`ah
The Arabic word shari`ah refers to the laws and way of life prescribed
by Allah (SWT) for his servants. The shari`ah deals with the
ideology and faith; behavior and manners; and practical daily
matters. "To each among you, we have prescribed a law and a
clear way. (Qur 'an 5:48) Shari`ah includes the Qur'an and the
sunnah of the Prophet (saas). The Qur'an is the direct word of
Allah (SWT), and is the first most important source of guidance
and rulings. The Sunnah of the Prophet (saas) is the second
source of guidance and rulings. The sunnah is an inspiration from
Allah (SWT), but relayed to us through the words and actions of
the Prophet (saas), and his concurrence with others' actions. The
sunnah confirmed the rulings of the Qur'an; detailed some of the
concepts, laws and practical matters which are briefly stated in the
Qur'an (e.g. definition of Islam, Iman, and Ihsan, details of salah,
types of usury); and gave some rulings regarding matters not
explicitly stated in the Qur'an (e.g. wearing silk clothes for men).
1-Qur'an 2-Sunnah of the prophet (saas)
Ideology and faith Sayings
Behavior and manners Actions
Practical manners Concurrence with others' actions
Articles of worship
Pertaining to family, business, Characteristics of the Prophet (saas)
penal code, government,
international law, economy.
3. Islamic Law - Fiqh
The Arabic word fiqh means knowledge, understanding and
comprehension. It refers to the legal rulings of the Muslim
scholars, based on their knowledge of the shari`ah; and as such is
the third source of rulings. The science of fiqh started in the
second century after Hijrah, when the Islamic state expanded and
faced several issues which were not explicitly covered in the
Qur'an and Sunnah of the Prophet (saas). Rulings based on the
unanimity of Muslim scholars and direct analogy are binding. The
four Sunni schools of thought, Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi'i and Hanbali,
are identical in approximately 75% of their legal conclusions.
Variances in the remaining questions are traceable to
methodological differences in understanding or authentication of
the primary textual evidence. Differing viewpoints sometimes exist
even within a single school of thought.
3-Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence)
Basis of Rulings
Unanimity of Muslim scholars
Direct and indirect analogy
Benefit for community
Opinion of a companion of the
Mohammed Held That All the
Biblical Prophets Were Muslims
Mohammed did accept the existence of all the Biblical prophets
before him. However, he also said that all these prophets were
Muslims. Abraham was a Muslim. In fact, Adam himself was the
first Muslim. Isaac and Jacob and David and Solomon and Moses
and Jesus were all Muslims, and all of them had writings similar to
the Koran. Therefore, world history is Islamic history because all
the heroes of history were Muslims.
Furthermore, Muslims accept the fact that each of these prophets
brought with him some kind of a revelation. Moses, brought the
Taurat, which is the Torah, and Jesus brought the Ingeel, which is
the Evangelion or Gospel — namely the New Testament.
Thus, there is a kinship between Muslims and Jews and Christians,
since they are all ―followers of the Book.‖
What do Muslims think about
Muslims respect and revere Jesus, and
await his Second Coming. They
consider him one of the greatest of
God's messengers to mankind. A
Muslim never refers to him simply as
'Jesus', but always adds the phrase
'upon him be peace'. The Quran
confirms his virgin birth (a chapter of
the Quran is entitled 'Mary'), and
Mary is considered the purest
woman in all creation. The Quran
describes the Annunciation as
'Behold!' the Angel said, 'God has chosen you, and purified you, and
chosen you above the women of all nations. O Mary, God gives
. whose name shall be the
you good news of a word from Him,
Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, honored in this world and the
Hereafter, and one of those brought near to God. He shall speak
to the people from his cradle and in maturity, and shall be of the
She said: 'O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has
touched me?' He said: 'Even so; God creates what He will. When
He decrees a thing, He says to it, "Be!" and it is.' (Quran, 3:42-7)
Jesus was born miraculously through the same power which had
brought Adam into being without a father:
―Truly, the likeness of Jesus with God is as the likeness of Adam. He
created him of dust, and then said to him, 'Be!' and he was.‖
During his prophetic mission Jesus performed many miracles. The
Quran tells us that he said: .
―I have come to you with a sign from your Lord: I make for you out of
clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it and it
becomes a bird by God's leave. And I heal the blind, and the
lepers and I raise the dead by God's leave.‖ (Quran, 3:49)
Neither Muhammad nor Jesus came to change the basic doctrine of
the belief in One God, brought by earlier prophets, but to confirm
and renew it. In the Quran Jesus is reported as saying that he
―To attest the law which was before me. And to make lawful to you
part of what was forbidden you; I have come to you with a sign
from your Lord, so fear God and obey Me.‖ (Quran, 3:5O)
The Prophet Muhammad said:
Whoever believes there is no
god but God, alone without
partner, that Muhammad is
His messenger, that Jesus is
the servant and messenger of
God, His word breathed into
Mary and a spirit emanating
from Him, and that Paradise
and Hell are true, shall be
received by God into Heaven.
The Perfect Servant (Hadith from Bukhari)
Muslims, Jews, & Christians
Like Judaism and Christianity, every Muslim has to acknowledge the
fact that there is only one God.
But it's not enough to say that there is only one God. A Muslim has to
acknowledge the fact that there is one God and Mohammed is his
prophet. These are the fundamentals of the religion that without
them, one cannot be a Muslim.
But beyond that, Islam is a civilization. It is a religion that gave first
and foremost a wide and unique legal system that engulfs the
individual, society and nations with rules of behavior. If you are
Muslim, you have to behave according to the rules of Islam which
are set down in the Koran and which are very different than the
teachings of the Bible.
But there are more differences…..
The Bible is the creation of the spirit of a nation over a very,
very long period, if we talk from the point of view of the
scholar, and let me remain scholarly. But there is one thing
that is important in the Bible. It leads to salvation. It leads to
salvation in two ways.
In Judaism, it leads to national salvation — not just a nation
that wants to have a state, but a nation that wants to serve
God. That's the idea behind the Hebrew text of the Bible.
The New Testament that took the Hebrew Bible moves us
toward personal salvation. So we have got these two kinds
of salvation, which, from time to time, meet each other.
But the key word is salvation. Personal salvation means that each
individual is looked after by God, Himself, who leads a person
through His word to salvation. This is the idea in the Bible, whether
we are talking about the Old or the New Testament. All of the laws
in the Bible, even to the minutest ones, are, in fact directed toward
this fact of salvation.
Secondly, there is another point in the Bible, which is highly
important. This is the idea that man was created in the image of
God. Therefore, you don't just walk around and obliterate the
image of God. Many people, of course, used Biblical rules and
turned them upside down. History has seen a lot of massacres in
the name of God and in the name of Jesus. But as religions, both
Judaism and Christianity in their fundamentals speak about
honouring the image of God and the hope of salvation. These are
the two basic fundamentals.
Now let's move to the essence of Islam. Islam was born with the idea
that it should rule the world. There is a difference between these
three religions. Judaism speaks.about national salvation —
namely that at the end of the story, when the world becomes a
better place, Israel will be in its own land, ruled by its own king and
serving God. Christianity speaks about the idea that every single
person in the world can be saved from his sins, while Islam speaks
about ruling the world.
The Qur’an says that "Allah sent Mohammed with the true religion so
that it should rule over all the religions." The idea, then, is not
that the whole world would become a Moslem world at this time,
but that the whole world would be subdued under the rule of Islam.
When the Islamic empire was established in 634 AD, within seven
years — 640 AD — the core of the empire was created. The rules
that were taken from the Koran and from the tradition that was
ascribed to the prophet Mohammed, were translated into a real
legal system. Jews and Christians could live under Islam provided
they paid poll tax and accepted Islamic superiority.
What about Muslim women?
Islam sees a woman, whether single or married, as an individual in
her own right, with the right to own and dispose of her property
and earnings. A marriage dowry is given by the groom to the bride
for her own personal use, and she keeps her own family name
rather than taking her husband's.
Both men and women are expected to dress in a way which is
modest and dignified; the traditions of female dress found in some
Muslim countries are often the expression of local customs.
The Messenger of God said:
'The most perfect in faith amongst believers is he who is best in
manner and kindest to his wife.'
Can a Muslim have more than
The religion of Islam was revealed for all
societies and all times and so
accommodates widely differing social
requirements. Circumstances may warrant
the taking of another wife but the right is
granted, according to the Quran, only on
condition that the husband is scrupulously
fair. And Muhammed himself believed that it
would be difficult for most men (including
himself) to be fair to more than four wives;
thus four wives is the acceptable limit
(assuming he can provide for them and treat
them all fairly).
Hijab - veiling
The practice of hijab among Muslim women is one based on
religious doctrine, although the Qur'an does not mandate it.
Instead, it comes from the Hadith of Sahih Bukhari. The
Hadith, the "tradition of Mohammed," reveals the teachings of
the Prophet to believers.
According to the Hadith,
"My Lord agreed with me ('Umar) in three things... (2) And as
regards the veiling of women, I said 'O Allah's Apostle! I wish
you ordered your wives to cover themselves from the men
because good and bad ones talk to them.' So the verse of the
veiling of the women was revealled" (Bukhari, v1, bk 8,
Surah XXXIII, Verse 59 of the Qur'an is most often cited in support of
veiling. It states:
"O Prophet! Tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of
the believers to draw their cloaks close around them. that will be
better, so that they may be recognized and not annoyed. Allah is
ever forgiving, merciful....―(other versions translate the original
Arabic as "veils" ).
Among Muslim women, the debate about hijab takes many forms.
Many believe that the veil is a way to secure personal liberty in a
world that objectifies women. Several women have argued that
hijab allows them freedom of movement and control of their
bodies. Understood in such terms, hijab protects women from the
male gaze and allows them to become autonomous subjects.
Others have argued that the veil only provides the illusion of
protection and serves to absolve men of the responsibility for
controlling their behavior.
Both positions assert that Islam is not responsible for sexism. In fact,
the Qur'an supports the notion of gender equality.
Just in case you’re wondering…
There are similar, yet less obvious requirements for a Muslim male's
1) A Muslim man must always be covered from the navel to the
2) A Muslim man should similarly not wear tight, sheer, revealing, or
3) In addition, a Muslim man is prohibited from wearing silk clothing
(except for medical reasons) or gold jewelry. A Muslim woman,
however, may wear silk or gold.
Is Islamic marriage like Christian
A Muslim marriage is not a 'sacrament', but a simple, legal
agreement in which either partner is free to include
conditions. Marriage customs thus vary widely from country
to country. As a result, divorce is not common, although it is
not forbidden as a last resort. According to Islam, no
Muslim girl can be forced to marry against her will: her
parents will simply suggest young men they think may be
How do Muslims treat the
In the Islamic world there are no old people's homes. The strain of caring for
one's parents in this most difficult time of their lives is considered an honor
and blessing, and an opportunity for great spiritual growth. God asks that we
not only pray for our parents, but act with limitless compassion, remembering
that when we were helpless children they preferred us to themselves.
Mothers are particularly honored: the Prophet taught that 'Paradise lies at the
feet of mothers'. When they reach old age, Muslim parents are treated
mercifully, with the same kindness and selflessness.
In Islam, serving one's parents is a duty second only to prayer, and it is their
right to expect it. It is considered despicable to express any irritation when,
through no fault of their own, the old become difficult.
The Quran says: Your Lord has commanded that you worship none but Him,
and be kind to parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, do
not say 'uff to them or chide them, but speak to them in terms of honor and
kindness. Treat them with humility, and say, 'My Lord! Have mercy on them,
for they did care for me when I was little'. (17:23-4)
How do Muslims view death?
Like Jews and Christians, Muslims believe that the present life is only
a trial preparation for the next realm of existence. Basic articles of
faith include: the Day of Judgment, resurrection, Heaven and Hell.
When a Muslim dies, he or she is washed, usually by a family
member, wrapped in a clean white cloth, and buried with a simple
prayer preferably the same day. Muslims consider this one of the
final services they can do for their relatives, and an opportunity to
remember their own brief existence here on earth. The Prophet
taught that three things can continue to help a person even after
death; charity which he had given, knowledge which he had taught
and prayers on their behalf by a righteous child.
What about food?
Although much simpler than the dietary law followed by Jews
and the early Christians, the code which Muslims observe
forbids the consumption of pig meat or any kind of
intoxicating drink. The Prophet taught that 'your body has
rights over you', and the consumption of wholesome food
and the leading of a healthy lifestyle are seen as religious
The Prophet said: 'Ask God for certainty [of faith] and well-
being; for after certainty, no one is given any gift better than
Zillij – Islamic Art
Muslim mosques are rich with geometric ornamentation called Zillij.
These patterns reflect basic Islamic beliefs as well as
mathematical truths. Muslims see these patterns as being
"discovered rather than created."
When you study the patterns of the tiles in wall and floor mosaics,
what do you notice about these arrangements? The designs are
endlessly repeating in elaborate complexity. Looking at the whole,
you see no center but rather an even, total, and unending
Islamic designs convey spirituality without religious iconography
(drawings and statues). Although they are intense and brilliant in
color and design, they are impersonal and anonymous. Nowhere
do you see the artist’s hand, only the pure form and color. These
profound concepts reflect the Muslim understanding of God.
Muslims believe it is a sin to reproduce the likeness of God or his
image in man,
Islamic artwork is not made using random, free-choice designs, but
is drawn within the constraints of symmetry and the laws of
proportion. The basic component is a simple shape, repeated in
patterns following bilateral or radial symmetry.
How does Islam guarantee
Freedom of conscience is laid down by the Quran itself:
'There is no compulsion in religion'. (2:256)
The life and property of all citizens in an Islamic state are
considered sacred whether a person is Muslim or not.
Racism is incomprehensible to Muslims, for the Quran speaks
of human equality in the following terms:
O mankind! We created you from a single soul, male and
female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you
may come to know one another. Truly, the most honored of
you in God's sight is the greatest of you in piety. God is All-
Knowing, All Aware (49:13)
Mosque of Al
Azhar - a center
since 969 AD.
Left: Mosque in
What does Islam say about war?
Like Christianity, Islam permits fighting in self-defense, in defense
of religion, or on the part of those who have been expelled
forcibly from their homes. It lays down strict rules of combat
which include prohibitions against harming civilians and
against destroying crops, trees and livestock. As Muslims see
it, injustice would be triumphant in the world if good men were
not prepared to risk their lives in a righteous cause. The Quran
Fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not
transgress limits. God does not love transgressors. (2:190)
If they seek peace, then seek you peace. And trust in God for He
is the One that heareth and knoweth all things. (8:61)
. War, therefore, is the last resort,
and is subject to the rigorous
conditions laid down by the
sacred law. The term jihad
literally means 'struggle', and
Muslims believe that there are
two kinds of jihad. The other
'jihad' is the inner struggle
which everyone wages
against egotistic desires, for
the sake of attaining inner
This is the most important form. This type of jihad, called the
Jihadun-Nafs, is the intimate struggle to purify one's soul of evil
influences -- both subtle and overt. It is the struggle to cleanse
one's spirit of sin. Both the Qur'an and the Hadith use the word
"jihad" to refer to personal struggles:
Putting "Allah ahead of our loved ones, our wealth, our worldly
ambitions and our own lives."
Resisting pressure of parents, peers and society; strive against "the
rejecters of faith..." (Quran 25:52)
"...strive and struggle to live as true Muslims..."
"Striving for righteous deeds."
Spreading the message of Islam. "The (true) believers are only those
who believe in Allah and his messenger and afterward doubt not,
but strive with their wealth and their selves for the cause of Allah.
Such are the truthful." (Quran, 49:15)
Non-personal (Outer) Jihad
Jihad is "holy war." Or, more precisely: It means the legal,
compulsory, communal effort to expand the territories ruled by
Muslims at the expense of territories ruled by non-Muslims.
The purpose of jihad, in other words, is not directly to spread the
Islamic faith but to extend sovereign Muslim power (faith, of
course, often follows the flag). Jihad is thus unabashedly offensive
in nature, with the eventual goal of achieving Muslim dominion
over the entire globe.
Jihad did have two variant meanings through the centuries, one more
radical, one less so. The first holds that Muslims who interpret
their faith differently are infidels and therefore legitimate targets of
The second meaning (previously described) rejects the legal
definition of jihad as armed conflict and tells Muslims to withdraw
from the worldly concerns to achieve spiritual depth.
A small percentage of Muslims who are from the extreme, radical and
violent wing of Islamic Fundamentalism, and who are passionate,
[deeply] religious and anti-Western might dwell on passages or
verses dealing with conflict, war, and resistance to oppression.
Many conclude that the Qur'an expects them to engage in acts of
terrorism, assassinations, suicide bombings, armed aggression
against persons of other religions, oppression of women,
executing innocent persons, etc.
The best known of these fundamentalist groups are the PLO, Hamas,
ANO, and PIJ (in Palestine) and Al-Quaida (in Afghanistan) and
the Hezbollah (in Lebanon).
Those Muslim Fundamentalists who are not extreme, violent and
radical, and those Muslims from mainline or liberal wings of the
religion might concentrate on passages and themes of spirituality,
justice, personal struggle, peace, freedom, etc. and focus on self-
defense rather than aggression.
What does Islam say about war?
(Version 2) - End of Days
It is highly important to understand how a civilization sees the end
of days. In Christianity and in Judaism, we know exactly what
is the vision of the end of days.
In Judaism, it is going to be as in Isaiah — peace between
nations, not just one nation, but between all nations. People
will not have any more need for weapons and nature will be
changed — a beautiful end of days and the kingdom of God on
Christianity goes as far as Revelation to see a day that Satan
himself is obliterated. There are no more powers of evil. That's
the vision. In the end of days, Islam sees a world that is totally
Muslim, completely Muslim under the rule of Islam. Complete
and final victory.
Christians will not exist, because according to many Islamic
traditions, the Muslims who are in hell will have to be replaced
by somebody and they'll be replaced by the Christians.
The Jews will no longer exist, because before the coming of the
end of days, there is going to be a war against the Jews where
all Jews should be killed. I'm quoting now from the heart of
Islamic tradition, from the books that are read by every child in
school. The Jews will all be killed. They'll be running away and
they'll be hiding behind trees and rocks, and on that day Allah
will give mouths to the rocks and trees and they will say, "Oh
Muslim come here, there is a Jew behind me, kill him." Without
this, the end of days cannot come. This is a fundamental of
Islam in the United States
It is almost impossible to generalize about American Muslims:
converts, immigrants, factory workers, doctors; all are
making their own contribution to America's future. This
complex community is unified by a common faith,
underpinned by a countrywide network of a thousand
Muslims were early arrivals in North America. By the
eighteenth century there were many thousands of them,
working as slaves on plantations. These early communities,
cut off from their heritage and families, inevitably lost their
Islamic identity as time went by. Today many Afro-
American Muslims play an important role in the Islamic
The nineteenth century, however, saw the beginnings of an influx of
Arab Muslims, most of whom settled in the major industrial centers
where they worshipped in hired rooms. The early twentieth century
witnessed the arrival of several hundred thousand Muslims from
Eastern Europe: the first Albanian mosque was opened in Maine
in 1915; others soon followed, and a group of Polish Muslims
opened a mosque in Brooklyn in 1928.
In 1947 the Washington Islamic Center was founded during the term
of President Truman, and several nationwide organizations were
set up in the fifties. The same period saw the establishment of
other communities whose lives were in many ways modeled after
Islam. More recently, numerous members of these groups have
entered the fold of Muslim orthodoxy. Today there are about five
million Muslims in America.
The Islamic Cultural Center, Washington DC.
United States: Muslim Population Circa 2000
Because the U. S. Census does.not collect information on
religious affiliation of residents in the nation, there are no exact
figures on the number of Muslims in the country.
According to a national poll conducted in 2001, known as the
American Religious Identity Survey, approximately 1,104,000 adult
Muslims reside in the United States.
National Muslim organizations put the total number of all Muslims in
the nation at about seven million, based on a survey that
determined that two million Muslims regularly attend weekly Friday
prayer services, and stipulated that the majority of Muslims do not
attend such services.
Whatever the exact number, the Muslim population in North America
is characterized by its diversity.
Approximately 24 percent of American Muslims are African
Americans according to the American Muslim Council’s Zogby poll
conducted in 2000.
The Muslim World
The Muslim population of the world is around one billion. 30%
of Muslims live in the Indian subcontinent, 20% in Sub-
Saharan Africa, 17% in Southeast Asia, 18% in the Arab
World, 10% in the Soviet Union and China. Turkey, Iran
and Afghanistan comprise 10% of the non-Arab Middle
East. Although there are Muslim minorities in almost every
area, including Latin America and Australia, they are most
numerous in the Soviet Union, India, and central Africa.
There are 5 million Muslims in the United States.
Western Europe: Muslim Population Circa 2000
It is estimated that 35 to 50 million Muslims live currently in
Western and Eastern Europe, although no reliable statistics
The majority lives in the Balkans and southeastern Europe,
areas once part of the Ottoman Empire.
In Western Europe, the largest numbers are in France,
Germany, and the United Kingdom—ranging from around
four to five million people in each country.
Many of these Western European Muslims are immigrants or
children of immigrants from areas formerly colonized by
Muslim Countries of Africa/Asia/Middle East/South East Asia
Today there are nearly 65 states or countries with significant or
majority populations who are Muslim. They include some of the
largest nations in the world in terms of population, such as
Indonesia, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Others are small countries like
Qatar and Djibouti. Many are secular republics such as Indonesia,
or monarchies such as Saudi Arabia, or so-called ―Islamic states‖
such as Iran. Some are democracies, such as Malaysia. No
majority Muslim state exists in Europe or the Americas. In almost
all of those states where a majority of the population is Muslim, a
belief in Islam serves as a common bonding among diverse
inhabitants in politics and life. It is a source of faith and a
significant foundation of social identity and community relations.
Almost all of these Muslim states are also developing nations that
have only recently emerged from European colonialism.
South America: Muslim Population Circa 2000
Although thousands of enslaved Muslims from Africa were carried
to South and Central America from 1450 to the 1830s, few South
American Muslims today are the descendants of the formerly
Today, most South American Muslims are immigrants, or the
descendants of immigrants, who came from India, present-day
Pakistan, Java, and other parts of South and South East Asia.
Beginning in 1838, Asian and South East Asian Muslims arrived in
South America to work as indentured laborers, merchants, and
New waves of Muslim immigrants continued to sweep into Brazil,
Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Argentina, Peru, and Trinidad
throughout the 19th century, including people from Lebanon and
Taj Mahal stands on the bank of
River Yamuna, which otherwise The Taj Mahal
serves as a wide moat defending
the Great Red Fort of Agra, the
center of the Mughal (Muslim)
emperors until they moved their
capital to Delhi in 1637. It was
built by the fifth Mughal emperor,
Shah Jahan in 1631 in memory
of his second wife, Mumtaz
Mahal, a Muslim Persian
She died while accompanying her husband in Burhanpur in a
campaign to crush a rebellion after giving birth to their 14th child. The
death so crushed the emperor that all his hair and beard were said to
have grown snow white in a few months.
When Mumtaz Mahal was still alive, she extracted four promises from
the emperor: .
first, that he build the Taj;
second, that he should marry again;
third, that he be kind to their children;
and fourth, that he visit the tomb on her death anniversary.
He kept the first and second promises. Construction began in 1631
and was completed in 22 years. Twenty thousand people were
deployed to work on it. The material was brought in from all over
India and central Asia and it took a fleet of 1000 elephants to
transport it to the site. It was designed by the Iranian architect
Ustad Isa and it is best appreciated when the architecture and its
adornments are linked to the passion that inspired it. It is a
"symbol of eternal love."
O mankind! We created you
. from a single soul,
male and female,
and made you into
nations and tribes,
so that you may come
to know one another.
Truly, the most honored
of you in God's sight
is the greatest of you in piety.
God is All-Knowing, All-Aware.
The discussion of Islam in Chapter 10 includes information on the prophet
Muhammad, the Qur'an, the central teachings, the Sunni-Shi'a split, Sufism,
the Five Pillars and jihad, the spread of Islam, relationships with the West,
and Muslim resurgence.
After reading this chapter, you should be able to:
• Explain the background and importance of the prophet Muhammad to Islam.
• Discuss the role of the Qur'an in the religion.
• Describe the basic teachings and practices of Islam.
• Recognize the religion's major divisions.
• Discuss current issues in Islam and the relationship of Islam with the West.
• Define important Islamic terms, names, and places including Abraham,
Ishma'il, Ka'bah, Muhammad, Mecca, Medina, Qur'an, Allah, Hadith, Sunnah,
Gabriel, hijrah, caliph, suras, Fatiha, Paraclete, Shahadah, shirk, kufr, angels,
archangels, Satan, jinn, the Last Judgment, Hell, Sunni, Shi'a, ummah,
Shari'ah, Imams, 'Ali, Twelvers, Seveners, Sufism, dervishes, Jalal al-Din
Rumi, Five Pillars of Islam, Islamists, zakat, fasting, hajj, jihad, mujahid,
dhimmis, ulama, and hijab.
In Islam, the supreme central focus and authority is
The word "Islam" means
those who follow Muhammad.
sons of Allah.
surrender to God.
When Muhammad was _____ years old, he began receiving
revelations from God.
Muslims calculate time from the migration of Muslims to Medina,
called the hijrah, which took place in _______ CE.
The Qur'an acknowledges prophets from Judaism and
any of these.
The Shi'a faction of Islam claims ______, Muhammad's cousin
and husband to his daughter Fatima, as the legitimate Islamic
leader after Muhammad's death.
The largest group within Islam is the _______, making up about
80 percent of all Muslims.
Shi'ites seek leadership from
Any of these.
The mystic tradition within Islam is called
The Mevlevi Dervish Order in Turkey famous for its ecstatic
dancing was founded by the poet
Abu Yazid al-Bistami.
Jalal al-Din Rumi.
The specific patterns for Muslim worship set forth in the
Shari'ah are commonly known as
the Teachings of Muhammad.
The Five Pillars of Islam.
any of these.
The Five Pillars of Islam consist of the profession of belief
in God and messengership of Muhammad, prayer five times
a day, tithing, fasting, and
submission to God.
pilgrimage to Mecca.
memorization of the Qur'an.
Although fasting is strongly recommended as an Islamic
practice, it is only required during the month of ___________,
a celebration that commemorates the beginning of the
revelations to Muhammad.
The Muslim community has often been particularly tolerant of
other monotheistic religions, especially
Jainism and Sikhism.
Sikhism and Hinduism.
Judaism and Christianity.
Hinduism and Buddhism.
In the United States, the movement started by Elijah
Muhammad and now led by his son, Warith Deen
Muhammad, is called the
American Muslim Mission.
Nation of Islam.
American Muslim Society.
Ka'bah the angel who brought God's words to Muhammad
Allah the One God
Hadith Muhammad's sayings and actions
Sunni Adam's place of worship, Islam's holiest sanctuary
Gabriel Muhammad's life and sayings
Hijrah the migration from Mecca to Medina
Caliph the Qur'an's opening sura
Qur'an successor to the Prophet Muhammad
Suras chapters within the Qur'an
Fatiha advocate, helper
Paraclete "reciting" which comes directly from Allah, Islam's holy book
Shahadah "There is no god but God"
shirk the sin of associating things other than God with God
Kufr atheism or ungratefulness to God
Angels nonphysical beings of light who serve and praise God continuously
Archangels highest form of angelic beings
jinn immaterial beings of fire between human and angel
Last Judgment the Muslim community
Hell poor mendicant mystics
Ummah Shi'ite leaders or guides
Shari'ah the final accounting for one's deeds
Imams destiny of unrepentant non-believers
dervishes sacred law of Islam
Hajj protected people
Jihad veiling of women for modesty
Mujahid spiritual tithing or almsgiving
Dhimmis fighter in the path of God
hijab pilgrimage to Mecca
Describe the factors contributing to the rapid spread of Islam.
Examine the role and status of women in Islam. Visit this site,
Women in Islam, for information.
What misconceptions concerning Islam and Muhammad have
been common in the West?
Explain the concept of jihad. Read this Religious Tolerance
website’s commentary on the word jihad.
What are the obligations of
the Muslim faithful?
. of all the prophets: __________
Muslims consider this man the greatest
Through the angel Gabriel, Muhammad received God's message. This
message, the holy book of the Islam faith, is called the __________.
Muslims trace their ancestry back to _________ by the Egyptian slave
The Muslim name for God is ____________.
The holy city of Islam is ___________.