For my paper I decided to choose the religion of Islam. I decided to pick this religion because of its fast growing rate. It is also different from what I am used to growing up with, so I was interested in learning more. I had learned some basic facts after the 9/11 event, but the Muslim religion and culture was still a mystery to me. Picking this topic has helped me learn more about Muslims and will help me better relate to them in my future work.
Background and History
Islam is the religion for about a fifth of the world’s population and is continually growing in numbers. The people who believe in Islam, are called Muslims. It is a religion full of peace, mercy, and forgiveness (Basic facts about). Islam was founded in the 7th century AD by the prophet Muhammad. Muhammad was 40 years old when the angel, Gabriel, revealed God’s message to him. He received this message for the next twenty-three years. Muhammad memorized the message and revealed it to his companions, who wrote it down word for word. This became knows as “The Quran”, a record of what was exactly said to Muhammad by Go through Gabriel during the twenty-three years (Bulletin).
Fundamental Tenets and Beliefs
Muslims believe in one unique God, who they call Allah. They believe that Allah created Angels, who then delivered Allah’s revelations to the prophets. Muslims beliefs are based on the books of Allah. They are the divine revelations of Allah to his prophets which include Abraham’s scrolls, Psalms, the Torah, the Gospel, and the Quran. Muslims believe that Muhammad was the last prophet after Jesus and the prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures.
The whole universe is governed and controlled completely by Allah. Muslims give their full trust to Allah and try to do their best in everything that they do. They believe in the “Day of Judgement”, in which all will be judged based on the lives that they lived. The righteous who did good deeds will be sent to Jannah (Paradise). Allah can choose to punish who he wishes by sending them to Jahannam (Hell).
Islam is divided into two branches called the Shi’ite and the Sunni. The Sunni make up the majority of muslims today. The Shi’ite Muslims believe that Ali (Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law) was the rightful successor to Muhammad, and that leadership of the community should remain in the family line of the prophet. Sufism is a form of Islamic mysticism. Sufis place emphasis on the inward experience of God, and on individual acts of spiritual discipline. (Basic facts about)
Cultural Practices and Customs
The five pillars of Islam are the basics of the Muslim life. The first pillar is called the Shahada or Witness. It is a profession of faith that states simply that “there is no god but God (Allah), and Muhammad is the messenger of God.” Someone becomes a Muslim by stating this declaration of faith. It is also used daily in prayers. The second pillar of Islam is called Salat or Prayer. It describes the ritual prayers muslims are...