Origins of the Islamic Religion in the United States
The beginning of Islam in the United States can be traced to the earliest days of the slave trade. While many of the slaves brought to America practiced traditional African religions, many of the slaves from West Africa were predominately Muslim. In fact a significant number of black Africans brought to North America during the slave trade were Muslim. Due to the overwhelming Christian presence during the slave trade, slaves were not allowed to practice their Muslim faith. The Christian slave owners attempted to force their slaves to convert to Christianity. They were not as successful as they deemed. The muslims continued to uphold the five pillars, maintain literacy, and instill the Islamic faith in to America.
Those who follow Islam are known as Muslims, or those who submit to Allah's will. Muslims believe in monotheism, or the belief in one God. There are two holy books that Muslims go by, the Koran and the Sunna. The Koran is said to be a record of God's words. The other book, the Sunna, is a record of Muhhamad's words and deeds compiled together after his death. The Koran and the Sunna cover many things that Muslims must go by. Some examples are: diet, marriage, and even the proper way to clean one's teeth.
There are two different groups of Muslims, the Shiites, and the Sunni. The Shiites are those who support the decedents of Muhhamad as their rightful successors. The Sunni believed that the elections of the first three caliphs were valid.
There are five specific rituals that Muslims must follow. These rituals are known as the five pillars of Islam. These rituals are as follows:
1) Profession of faith. "There is no god but Allah, and Muhhamad is his prophet.