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Major Religions & Spiritual Beliefs, Islam

ISLAM, ISLAMIC RELIGION, HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY


An example of Allah written in simple calligraphic Arabic
Islam, Islamic History and Philosophy as a World Religion
Islam is a monotheistic faith and the world's second-largest religion. Followers of Islam, known as Muslims, believe that God (or, in Arabic, Allah) revealed His Will to Muhammad (c. 570632) and other prophets, including Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. The Muslims hold that the main written record of revelation to mankind is the Qur'an.

Islam, World Religion

In Arabic, Islam means "submission" and is described as a Din, meaning "way of life" and/or "religion." Etymologically, it is derived from the same root as, for example, Salam meaning "peace" (also a common salutation). The word Muslim is also related to the word Islam and means "one who surrenders" or "submits" to God, or a "vassal" of God.

Muslims hold that it is essentially the same belief as that of all the messengers sent by God to mankind since Adam, with the Qur'an (the one definitive text of the Muslim faith) codifying the final revelation of God. Islam sees Judaism and Christianity as derivations of the teachings of certain of these prophets - notably Abraham - and therefore see them as fellow Abrahamic religions, and People of the Book. Unlike Christianity, Islam has not undergone any period of reformation; however, that is essentially the goal of various liberal movements within Islam. Islam has two primary branches of belief, based largely on a historical disagreement over the succession of authority after Muhammad's death; these are known as Sunnite and Shi'ite.

The basis of Muslim belief is found in the shahadatan ("two statements"): la ilaha illa-llahu; mu?ammadur-rasulu-llahi "There is no god but God; Muhammad is the messenger of God." One needs to recite and believe these statements in order to become a Muslim. All Muslims agree to this, although Sunnis further regard this as one of the five pillars of Islam.

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