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The reading reminded Muslims that their religion was revealed by God through the prophet Muhammad. The five pillars of Islam, which are ritual duties that that must be observed by all Muslims, were also mentioned and these pillars are: confessing their faith, observing the five daily prayers, paying alms to the needy, fasting during the month of Ramadan and pilgrimage or hajj to Mecca ((Ellwood & McGraw 374). The authors also explained the importance of the hajj to Muslims and the significance of the mosque as the main place of worship to the Muslims. Several religious rites that are also practiced by Muslims were also mentioned in the book. The spread of Islam from the Middle East to North Africa were also discussed in the reading (Ellwood & McGraw).
The two largest branches of Islam, Sunni Islam and the Shi’a Islam were also mentioned in the reading. The Shiites believed that the descendants of Ali, (Muhammad’s son-in-law) were divinely ordained by God and they are called Imams. On the other hand, the Sunnis believed that
it was Muhammad’s intention for the Muslims to choose a successor amongst themselves by agreement and they are called caliphs. The difference between the Sunni and Shi’a Islam were made clear in the reading. Islamic mysticism was also explained in the reading and the tensions that it had with mainstream Islam. Islamic mysticism was explained as a factor that has deepened the life of Muslims. The role of Islam in politics was also explained in the reading in the history of Islam and their role in modern politics, especially in the region of the Middle East. The concept of jihad, a ‘holy war’ was also explained in the reading as Muslims actually see it as a means of converting Non-Muslims and drawing their hearts to God.
The reading actually relate to my experience in the sense that, it expands my knowledge on the little understanding I have about Islam. The day to day practices of Muslims that were highlighted in the reading
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