Overview Of Islam

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Religious Studies
REL 3786
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OverviewofIslamIslamisthesecondlargestreligionintheworldwithover1billionfollowersItisamonotheisticfaithfoundedbyamannamedMuhammadin7thcenturySaudiArabiaAccordingtoMuslimbelieftheangelGabrielappearedtoMuhammadacameldriverinamountaincaveanddeliveredamessagefromtheonetrueGodTheProphetMuhammaddedicatedtheremainderofhislifetospreadingamessageofmonotheisminapolytheisticworldHislifesworkisrecordedintheQuranthesacredtextofIslamIn622ADtheProphetflednorthtothecityofMedinatoescapegrowingpersecutionThiseventiscelebratedbyMuslimsasthehijiraflightandmarksthebeginningoftheIslamiccalendar622AD1AHEightyearslaterMuhammadreturnedtoMeccawithanarmyanddefeatediteasilyByMuhammadsdeath50yearslatertheentireArabianPeninsulahadcomeunderMuslimcontrolThewordIslammeanssubmissionreflectingthereligionscentraltenetofsubmittingtothewillofGodIslamicpracticescenterontheFivePillarsofIslamconfessionoffaithdailyprayerfastingduringRamadanpilgrimageandcharityThesacredtextofIslamtheQuranwaswritteninArabicwithin30yearsofMuhammadsdeathMuslimsbelieveitcontainstheliteralwordofGodasgraduallyrevealedtoMuhammadbytheAngelGabrieloverthecourseof20yearsAlsoimportantisthetraditionofthesayingsandactionsoftheProphetandhisCompanionscollectedinthehadithIslamandtheWesthavehadarockyrelationshipforcenturiesandinrecentyearsthetensionhasonlyseemedtoescalateTheongoingconflictbetweenIsraelandPalestineisreligiouslychargedWesterninvolvementinMiddleEasternaffairsisresentedandvarioushijackerssuicidebombersandterroristsbasetheiractionsontheirMuslimfaithManyMuslimshoweverhavedenouncedthisradicalminorityasviolatingbothtrueIslamandthetruemeaningofjihadandIslamcontinuestobethefastestgrowingreligionintheworldEarlyLifeoftheProphetMuhammad whose name means highly praised was born in Mecca in 570 AD His father died shortly before his birth and he lost his mother at the age of six The young orphan was then raised primarily by his uncle for whom he worked as a shepherd At age 9 some sources say 12 he joined his uncle on a caravan to SyriaAs a young man Muhammad worked as a camel driver between Syria and Arabia Soon he established a career managing caravans on behalf of merchants Through his travel first with his uncle and later in his career Muhammad came into contact with people of many nationalities and faiths including Jews Christians and pagansAt age 25 Muhammad was employed by Khadija a wealthy Meccan widow 15 years his senior The two were married and by all accounts enjoyed a loving and happy marriage Early records report that God comforted him through her for she made his burden light Although polygamy was common practice at the time Muhammad took no other wife than Khadija until her death 24 years laterDivineRevelationIn his late 30s Muhammad took to regularly visiting a cave in Mount Hira on the outskirts of Mecca to seek solitude and contemplation In 610 at the age of 40 Muhammad returned from one such visit telling his wife he had either gone mad or become a prophet for he had been visited by an angel The initially startled Khadija became his first convertMuhammad reported that while in a trancelike state the Angel Gabriel appeared to him and said Proclaim But like Moses Muhammed was a reluctant prophet He replied I am not a proclaimer The angel persisted and the Prophet repeatedly resisted until the angel finally overwhelmed Muhammad and commanded himProclaim in the name of your Lord who createdCreated man from a clot of bloodProclaim Your Lord is the Most Generous Who teaches by the pen Teaches man what he knew not Quran 9613After receiving Khadijas support and additional angelic visits Muhammad became confident he had indeed been chosen as the
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