Islam is a monotheistic_ Abrahamic religion originating with the by sdaferv

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									                                            Islam
Islam is a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion originating with the teachings of the Islamic prophet
Muhammad, a 7th century Arab religious and political figure. There are between 1 billion and
1.8 billion Muslims, making Islam the second-largest religion in the world, after Christianity.

Muslims believe that God revealed the Qur'an to Muhammad, God's final prophet, through the
angel Gabriel, and regard the Qur'an and the Sunnah (words and deeds of Muhammad) as the
fundamental sources of Islam. They do not regard Muhammad as the founder of a new religion,
but as the restorer of the original monotheistic faith of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other
prophets.

Almost all Muslims belong to one of two major denominations, the Sunni (85%) and Shi'a
(15%). The schism developed in the late 7th century following disagreements over the religious
and political leadership of the Muslim community. Islam is the predominant religion in Africa
and the Middle East, as well as in major parts of Asia. Large communities are also found in
China, the Balkan Peninsula in Eastern Europe and Russia. There are also large Muslim
immigrant communities in other parts of the world, such as Western Europe. About 20% of
Muslims live in Arab countries, 30% in the Indian subcontinent and 15.6% in Indonesia, the
largest Muslim country by population.

   •   Islam was revealed over 1400 years ago in Mecca, Arabia.
   •   Followers of Islam are called Muslims.
   •   Muslims believe that there is only One God.
   •   The Arabic word for God is Allah.
   •   According to Muslims, God sent a number of prophets to mankind to teach them how to
       live according to His law.
   •   Jesus, Moses and Abraham are respected as prophets of God.
   •   They believe that the final Prophet was Muhammad (peace be upon him).
   •   Muslims believe that Islam has always existed, but for practical purposes, date their
       religion from the time of the migration of Muhammad.
   •   Muslims base their laws on their holy book the Qur'an, and the Sunnah.
   •   The Sunnah is the practical example of Prophet Muhammad.
   •   There are five basic Pillars of Islam.

The most important Muslim practices are the Five Pillars of Islam. These are the five obligations
that every Muslim must satisfy in order to live a good and responsible life according to Islam.
The Five Pillars consist of:

   •   Shahadah: sincerely reciting the Muslim profession of faith:
          o "I witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is the prophet of
               Allah"
   •   Salat: performing ritual prayers in the proper way five times each day:
          o Between first light and sunrise
          o After the sun has passed the middle of the sky
            o  Between mid-afternoon and sunset
            o  Between sunset and the last light of the day
            o  Between darkness and dawn
   •   Zakat: paying an alms (or charity) tax to benefit the poor and the needy
          o This is a compulsory gift of 2.5 % of one's savings each year in addition to any
               additional charitable gifts a Muslim makes. Giving in this way is intended to free
               Muslims from the love of money. It reminds them that everything they have really
               belongs to God.
   •   Sawm: fasting during the month of Ramadan, the 9th month in the Muslim calendar
          o Sawm helps Muslims develop self-control, gain a better understanding of God's
               gifts and greater compassion towards the deprived.
   •   Hajj: pilgrimage to Mecca
          o The pilgrimage to Mecca that all physically and financially able Muslims should
               make at least once in their life.




 The Star and Crescent, a common symbol in Islam. The white symbolizes purity and peace, and the green (in this
      case) may symbolize nature and life. Other colours of the crescent and star may be white, black or red.




References
1) Canadian Centre for Diversity –
http://www.centrefordiversity.ca/resources/pdfs/BASIC-ISLAM-FINAL.pdf
2) Islam – Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam
3) Adherents - http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html#Islam
4) Religious Tolerance – Islam - http://www.religioustolerance.org/islam.htm
5) BBC Religion & Ethics – Islam - http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/

								
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