Islam Religion Essay

1090 words - 4 pages

ORIGINS AND HISTORYIslam claims up to 1.5 billion followers worldwide. For the last twenty years this religion has made the front page of today's newspapers which is more than any other. "As the fastest growing religion in the world, the U.S. holds up to eight million Muslims, and over eleven hundred mosques or Islamic centers.(2)""Islam was founded in the early seventh century by Muhammad.(1)" "When he was forty, Muhammad claimed to be receiving messages from God.(4)" These messages were later compiled and recorded in the Koran, Islam's holy book.About this time, Muhammad began preaching against the greed, economic oppression, and worship that plagued the Arab peoples. He called on many factions of the Arab peoples to unite under the worship of Allah, the chief god of the Arab pantheon of deities. "Though his message initially rejected, by the year 632 he had succeeded in gaining control of Mecca, the economic and religious center of the Arabian Peninsula.(1)"Even though Muhammad died two years later, the religious movement he founded rapidly spread throughout the Arab world, and far beyond. In the centuries that followed, Islam penetrated deeper into Africa and Asia, then extending as far as the Philippines. During Islam's golden era some of the world's finest philosophers and mathematicians came about. It was during this time also that Islam and Christianity clashed as a result of the Crusades to reclaim the Holy Land from the Muslims."After the industrial revolution of the 1700-1800s, Islam felt the increasing influence of the European powers.(1)" Eventually, large portions of the Muslim world were colonized by European Countries. This political and economic domination by Europe continued until the end of WWII, after which the Muslim countries began to attain political independence. With the discovery and development of the vast oil reserves in many Muslim lands, economic independence suddenly came within reach also. At last, Islam had in its grasp both the opportunity and the resources to make itself a powerful force in the world. After being on the defensive for many centuries, Islam was now on the offensive.BELIEFSThe beliefs of Islam are composed of six basic articles of faith which are common to nearly all Muslims.The first of these is that there is no God but Allah. The pre-Islamic Arabs were polytheists. But Muhammad succeeded in leading them to devote themselves solely to the chief God of the pantheon whom they called Allah. To worship or attribute deity to any other being is considered sacrilege. The Koran mentions numerous names of Allah, and these names are found frequently on the lips of devout Muslims who believe them to have a nearly magical power.The second article of faith is belief in angels and jinn. "Jinn are spirit beings capable of both good and evil actions and of possessing human beings.(3)" Above the jinn in rank are the angels of God. Two of them are believed to escort every Muslim, one on the right to record his good...

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