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There are various religions in the world. These religions have their strong set of beliefs and traditions, to which they adhere tightly. Every religion has a different origin background, history, beliefs, and practices that usually make them appear very different from one another. The beliefs and practices of many religions emanate from their history. This paper will concentrate on the origins and early history of Islam, its beliefs, and practices, and, finally, the trends and controversies.
Islam means to submit and agree the commandments and will of Allah, the One and the Only God. The history of the Islamic religion can be traced back to the year 570. This is the time when the first prophet of Islam was born. Muhammad, who is the Muslim prophet, was born in a family that belonged to the clan of Quraish that was the ruling community of Mecca. This city is situated in the Hijaz region in the northwestern part of Arabia. Muhammad’s father, Abu Al-Muttalib, died before Muhammad was born, and his mother passed away when he was only six years old. The boy was left with the grandfather who also died shortly and left Muhammad to his uncle. The town of Hijaz had an important impact on the life of Muhammad. The conditions of the desert trained him to endure patience, forbearance; he also managed to learn Fus'ha Arabic, the language in which Qur’an is written. Muhammad engaged in the trading, a job that he did until his forties. After he had retired, he started meditating in a cave on mount Hira, which is situated just in the outskirts of the Mecca city. This is where the first events in the history of Islam took place.
During the period while Muhammad was meditating in the cave, Angel Gabriel appeared and ordered him to recite some words, which later became a part of Quran 96.1-2. These words are, “In the name of thy Lord, who created, created man from a clot of blood.” Muhammad had told him for three times that he was not able to recite, but every time he pleaded, the same voice of the Angel repeated the same words commanding him to recite. At the end, Muhammad recited the words, which formed the background of the Islamic religion. These words became the first five verses of the Quran, in the chapter 96. The words acknowledge God as the creator and the source of all known and unknown knowledge. Muhammad was extremely afraid of what was happening in his life; therefore, at first, he only shared his experience with his wife and close friends. The revelations continued and made him proclaim the oneness of God. Muhammad’s revelations and followings spread first to the poor and slaves and later to the prominent men of Mecca. All the revelations that Muhammad received are noted in the Quran, which is the Holy Scripture of Islam.
Beliefs and Practices of the Islamic Religion
Islamic religion believes in one God, Allah. Muslims consider Allah to be the only Supreme Being and believe in worshiping Him and to obeying His commandments alone. Moreover, Muslims believe that no other creature shares Allah’s attributes and divinity. Muslims believes in oneness of lordship, oneness of worship, and oneness of Allah’s name and attributes. They believe that Allah does not get weak, and he cannot sleep, get tired, or even die. The Islamic religion believes that Allah created human being but not in his own image, which his different from Christianity. They believe that no human being has the likeness of Allah; therefore, no human being has the attributes of God. Furthermore, Muslims believe that there is neither intermediate to Allah nor any person who can take one nearer to Allah or even plead to Allah on behalf of another person. The religion believes that every person has the same ability to ask for anything from Allah without the need of another person interceding on his or her behalf. Muslims believe in innocence at birth and that every person is born free of any sin; only after puberty age, people can make sins. This means that a person is free of sins until one becomes responsible for his own actions in life. The Islamic religion also believes that there is no original sin; even though Adam and Eve sinned and disobeyed God, Allah forgave both of them. Therefore, every soul is responsible for its own sin and forgiveness is always available through repentance. Muslims have also five pillars that they strongly believe in that every Muslim must uphold them. These pillars are Shahada (testify), Salah (prayer), Seyam (Fasting), Zakat (Charity) and Hajj (pilgrimage). The pillar of testify is the belief and commitment that there is no other deity apart from Allah and no Allah’s messenger apart from Prophet Muhammad. The pillar of Salar (prayer) states that every Muslim regardless of gender after the age of puberty must perform five prayers (salats) during a particular time, as specified by the religious tradition. These prayers are performed at dawn, noon, afternoon, and night; a Muslim must also perform certain ritual of cleaning some parts of the body with water before these prayers. Fasting is the other important pillar that Islamic religion holds. Every Muslim is expected to fast during the month of Ramadan from sunrise to sunset. Some people like pregnant, menstruating, and nursing women, and people who are sick or travelling have no duty to fast. However, when their situation changes, they are expected to make up days of fasting or feed on the poor meal for each day they missed fasting. Muslims also contribute towards charity, and healthy people are expected to perform pilgrimage to Makkah once a year.
In the modern world, the Islamic religion has faced many challenges. Over 1.6 million are persecuted and killed for their faith. Muslim population has doubled since 1970 to 1.2 billion. The rising rate of the Islamic population has been termed a threat to other religions, making Muslims be hated by the world community.
In conclusion, the Islamic religion is growing day after day and gaining popularity in many countries. It is a religion known to hold its belief and practices very tightly without compromising them. Apart from the few challenges that the region faces, which has not threatened their belief in any way, the religion is very strong.
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