What is Islam?-Origin of Islam

What is Islam?

What is Islam?

Islam is a monotheistic religious tradition that developed in the Middle East in the 7th century Islam, which literally means "surrender" or "submission," was founded on the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad as an expression of surrender to the will of Allah, the creator and sustainer of the world. The Quran, the sacred text of Islam, contains the teachings of the Prophet that were revealed to him from Allah. Essential to Islam is the belief that Allah is the one and true God with no partner or equal.

Origin of Islam

Islam, began in Mecca, claimed to be the revelation of God (Allah) through the angel Gabriel to a man named Muhammad. Muhammad was born in approximately AD 570-571. He was born to the powerful tribe of the Quraish in Mekkah (Mecca). His father's name was Abdullah. His mother's name was Aminah.
Origin of Islam

In about 610 A.D., the angel Gabriel appeared to Muhammad in the city of Mecca. Gabriel told Muhammad that God had commissioned Muhammad as His last prophet. At first, Muhammad shared his new revelations with only his family and close friends. During the next three years the message of Muhammad quietly spread among the people of Mekkah, especially among the youth. Then Muhammad is believed to have received instructions from Allah to go public with his message and openly condemn the paganism and idolatry of Mekkah.

The revelations Muhammad received until his death in 632 constitute the Qur’an, Islam’s holy book. Muhammad believed that he was restoring and completing the original religion of humanity, and that he stood in the line of the Biblical prophets who had also been sent by God to call people to submit to God.

Muhammad’s contemporaries in Mecca worshipped many gods and rejected Muhammad’s call to worship only one God. In 622, Muhammad and his small band of believers emigrated from Mecca north to the town of Yathrib, which the Muslims renamed Medina. That year would eventually be set as the first year of the Muslim calendar. At Medina, Muhammad established the first Muslim community.
Origin of Islam

In 630, Muhammad led the army of the growing Muslim community against Mecca, which submitted peacefully. By the time of Muhammad’s death, two years later, most of Arabia had accepted Islam and become part of the Islamic community. Muhammad was succeeded by a series of rulers (caliphs) under whom Islam burst forth as a new power on the world scene.
Islam continued to flourish under the leadership of Muhammad's companions. The first Caliph was his father in law and long time friend, Abu Bakr. In his two years of leadership, Abu Bakr consolidated Islamic influence over the entire Arabian peninsula.

The second caliph was Umar. He was in power from 634 to 644. Under Umar, Syria, Mesopotamia, Egypt and Persia were added to the growing list of Islamic subjects. Others followed, continually expanding the borders of Islam. Under the leadership of the Kalifahs, Islam spread into Europe, Africa, and Asia. The caliphate lasted centuries, shifting from one dynasty to another, but always claiming the religious right to lead.

Gradually, the original unity of Islam was lost, never to be regained. The caliphate fell before the Mongol onslaught in 1258. Islam continued to spread in the following centuries, but new Muslim kingdoms rose and fell. By the end of the seventeenth century, the military power of Islam ebbed away and by the end of the nineteenth and on into the first part of the twentieth century, most Muslim countries came under direct or indirect control of European nations. In the second half of the twentieth century, Muslim nations gained their independence. Despite political and economic decline, the number of Muslims in the world increased rapidly in the twentieth century, and Islam became for the first time a truly global religion.

Islam spread as a social system, a political system, and a religious system and it was spread by force of arms. That was its philosophy in the beginning, and it is still the philosophy of Islam today.
Today Islam is one of the world's dominant religions, and claims as much as one fifth of the world's population.

Islam claims to be a united religion with no divisions; however, one does not have to be an astute observer to realize that Islam is, in reality, fragmented into many different branches, some of which are militantly hostile to each other. There is no unity among Muslims as they would have us believe. Two prominent groups, the Shiites and Sunnites had their origins around 660 over who was the legitimate caliph. Other sects followed.

With the end of the colonial system, Islamic states were given their autonomy again. With the wealth from petro-dollars, Islam as a religion is being successfully spread over the world. Islam is one of the greatest opponents in existence to the gospel of Christ today, and is one of the fastest growing religions in the world.


Origin of Islam

Muslims share many of the same basic beliefs as Christians and Jews, while differing fundamentally from Eastern religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism:

God created the world and all that is in it.
God established in His revealed word the principles by which to live, including concern for the poor.
One shouldn’t worship other gods, or money, or power, or oneself.
At the end of time, God will judge all people.
If a person had fulfilled the divine command, he or she will go to heaven.
God calls upon all people to submit to His will, as embodied in His revealed law. In fact, the word islam means submission; Islam comes from the same root as the word for peace. Islam is often thought of as the religion of submission to God.

Basic Islamic practice is summed up in the Five Pillars of Worship. Muslims must confess that only God is God and that Muhammad is His messenger. They stop whatever they’re doing five times a day to pray to God. Once a year, in the month of Ramadan, they fast from dawn to dusk. Each year, they give a defined portion of their wealth to serve God’s purposes. And once in a lifetime, each Muslim who is able must make the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Islam has several branches and much variety within those branches. The two divisions within the tradition are the Sunni and Shi'a, each of which claims different means of maintaining religious authority.

Sunnis constitute from 84 to 90 percent of the world’s Muslims. The term “Sunni” refers to the traditions followed by Muhammad and the early Muslims.

After Muhammad’s death, some Muslims believed that his nephew and son-in-law, ´Ali, should have succeeded him (as opposed to the first three caliphs who came after Muhammad). The term Shi´a refers to the party of ´Ali, those who believed that religious and political leadership of the Muslim community should always remain in the line of ´Ali and his wife Fatima. Because of disputes that arose about the line of succession, Shi´ites divided into a number of different groups, such as Ithna´-Ashari (or Twelvers), Isma´ilis, and Zaydis.

Sufis are another large group of Muslims. Sufism is Islamic mysticism, rather than a sect, like Sunnis or Shi´ites. So, a Sufi is normally also a Sunni (or more rarely, a Shi´ite) Muslim. Many Sufi orders exist just like many monastic orders exist in Roman Catholicism.

Islam is the name of the religion. A Muslim is the name of a member of the Islamic religion. The word “Muslim” means “one who submits to God.” A Muslim isn’t a Mohammedan, and Muslims don’t belong to a Mohammedan religion, because Muhammad is only a man. Muslims worship God and not Muhammad.

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