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Early Islam and Islam Today - Essay Example

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Early Islam and Islam today Your Name University Schools Number and Name of Course (e.g., June 18, 2012) Early Islam and Islam today Islam is believed to have resulted in the creation of the “first global civilization” as it spread rapidly from Saudi Arabia, its place of origin, to Persia and subsequently to the west (Stearns, 2006, p…
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Download file to see previous pages The culture and beliefs of Muslims are also discussed. This paper also presents a brief overview on both historical and modern Islam, worldwide and in America. Culture and Beliefs of Muslims Islam is a monotheistic religion and Muslims believe in the oneness of god. They have five basic principles that they call the “pillars” of Islam (Shepard, 2009). The first pillar is that of the Shahada, which is the declaration that there is only one god and prophet Muhammad is his messenger. The second pillar is the Salah, i.e. prayer, which is performed five times a day. The third pillar is the Zakah, i.e. charity for the poor. The fourth pillar is the Sawm, which means fasting. Muslims fast during the entire month of Ramazan, a holy month of the Islamic calendar. It is believed that the Quran, the word of God (Allah), began to be revealed to Prophet Muhammad by angel Gabriel during this month. The fifth and final pillar of Islam is Hajj, or pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca, at least once in a lifetime (Shepard, 2009). Muhammad, who is believed by Muslims to be a prophet and messenger of Allah, founded Islam. Islam abolished the practice of polytheism, which was the religion of pagan Arabia, and introduced the concept of unity or oneness of God. According to Muhammad’s teachings, there are certain tenets and standards of living, ethics and polity, as described in the Quran, the holy book of Muslims, to be followed by Muslims, failing which they would face penalty both in this life and in the afterlife. Muslims have faith in the Judgment Day, when all humans will be judged for their deeds and will be sent to hell or heaven based on their doings. Muslims place a great significance on the conservation of women’s modesty, and so, women are asked to cover themselves by veils. They are not allowed to reveal themselves to other men except their husbands and close kin. Women and men are segregated in their social gatherings. Although it is widely believed that Muslim women are suppressed, it is believed to be the wrongdoing of men themselves rather than Islam, as Islam preaches equality of both men and women (Ezzati, 2002). Muslims are forbidden to consume pork and alcohol (Shepard, 2009). While monogamy is the common practice among Muslims, polygamy is legal and permitted by Islam (Shepard, 2009). While Muslim women are allowed only one husband, Muslim men can have a maximum of four wives only if they can treat all their wives equally. The Arabs made great scientific and cultural progress with the advent of Islam (Shepard, 2009). Origin and Expansion of Islam Islam has many universal elements that appealed to all cultures and religions outside Arabia (Stearns et al., 2004). This led to the acceptance of Islam and conversion to Islam by people of other religions such as Christianity, Judaism, etc. Following the death of Muhammad, his followers set up a caliphate in order to maintain political stability among the Arabs (Hemminger, 1997). Abu-Bakr was made the first caliph and military exhibition was used to gain the caliph’s authority over Arabia (Hemminger, 1997). Under his caliphate, the Arabs overtook Persian and Byzantine forces. He was succeeded by Umar, who became the second caliph and under whose reign, many other neighboring empires were conquered. By 637 CE, Ctesiphon (Persia’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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