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Islam. Part Four of the World Religions Series Sponsored by the A-B Tech Diversity Committee. History. The founder and prophet of Islam is Muhammad. Born in 570 CE, Muhammad experienced a revelation when he was forty years old and began to teach the word of God.

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Part Four of the

World Religions Series

Sponsored by the

A-B Tech

Diversity Committee


  • The founder and prophet of Islam is Muhammad. Born in 570 CE, Muhammad experienced a revelation when he was forty years old and began to teach the word of God.

  • The first Islamic community was formed after Muhammad fled from persecution and migrated to Medina. Because of his work, a federation of Arab tribes were created, which resulted in the basis of Arab unity.

  • The main principle of Islam is the submission to God. The word Islam literally means to submit.


Saudi Arabia

Fast facts

  • Mecca is the birthplace of Muhammad the Prophet.

  • During daily prayers, all Muslims must face Mecca, where the Ka’ba is located. The Ka’ba or “house of God” contains a meteorite that is believed to have been put there by Abraham and Ismail. The Ka’ba symbolizes the first house of worship.

  • Muslims follow a different calendar which does not keep in step with the solar year. This calendar year consists of 354 days.

  • Figurative art of Muhammad is not acceptable and is actually considered offensive to Muslims. Muhammad instructed his followers not to draw his likeness for fear that they would worship him instead of God.

Major sects
Major Sects

  • Sunni: This is the largest sect in Islam, with 940 million adherents. Sunni’s follow the sunnah, which means custom and tradition. This means that they follow the teachings of Muhammad’s successor, Abu Bakr, instead of Muhammad’s son-in-law, Ali.

  • Shi’a: Shi’ites follow Ali, who was the closest relative of Muhammad and is the main difference that separates them from Sunnis. Shi’ites also see Ali as the first Imam or spiritual leader; one who can interpret the inner workings of the Qu’ran in addition to being a political leader.

  • Sufism: This mystical aspect of the Islamic faith is based in orthodox Islam and the Qu’ran. Sufi’s believe in the purity of life, strict obedience to Islamic Law and emulating Muhammad the Prophet.


  • To be considered a Muslim, you must follow the six articles of faith: Belief of one God, angels of God, books of God, prophets of God, day of judgment, and the supremacy of God’s will.

  • The most important belief is that there is only one God, Allah (which means the God).

  • Prophets are messengers of God and are to be revered not worshiped.

  • As in Christian faith, Muslims believe that the soul will continue on with the ultimate path being Paradise or Hell.

Rituals practices
Rituals & Practices

  • The Five Pillars of Islam are the focus of a Muslim’s faith.

    • Confession of faith (shahada): There is no god but God and Muhammad is the prophet of God.

    • Ritual Prayer (salat): Performed five times a day and always in the direction of the Ka’ba shrine in Mecca.

    • Alms Tax (zakat): All adult Muslims of sufficient means are to pay this tax, which goes to the needy.

    • Fasting During the Month of Ramadan (sawm): Muslims abstain from food, drink, and sex during daylight hours. There is also more praying and more acts of devotion.

    • Pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj): During the last month of the Islamic year, every Muslim must make the journey to Mecca at least once in their lifetime.


Sacred texts
Sacred Texts

  • The two most important texts in the Islamic faith are the Qur’an and the Hadith.

  • The Qur’an is Islam’s most sacred text because it is believed to be the actual word of God as told to Muhammad.

  • (Although the Judeo-Christian bible is respected by Muslims, it is understood by Islam that it has been incorrectly translated).

  • The Hadith (narrative or report) consists of words and deeds of Muhammad, his family and his followers. Muslims use the Hadith for moral guidance and religious law.


  • Muslims are summoned to worship/prayer by a man (muezzin) who calls out from rooftops. Sometimes a megaphone is used to reach long distances. These reminders help believers to remember God through all that happens during their daily work and family concerns. Prayers consist of recitations glorifying God, accompanied by several movements, including bowing, kneeling and touching one’s forehead to the ground.

  • Muslims may worship/pray wherever they happen to be when called. They can worship/pray by themselves or with others. It is preferred that this is practiced together in order to show brotherhood, equality, and solidarity.


  • Officially there are no Islamic symbols. However, the star and crescent is the most recognizable and is seen on many flags in the Islamic world. Scholars say this symbol was originally used by the Ottoman Empire, which lasted from 1299 – 1922 and covered three continents. Because of cultural diffusion and the spread of Islam among the Ottoman Turks, it became associated with Islam.

  • The color green is used to represent vegetation and life. Some believe that Muhammad favored this color and wore green robes and a green turban. In the Qur’an it states that the inhabitants of paradise wear garments of green silk. Green is also one of the colors on Saudi Arabia’s flag.

Current events
Current Events

  • Standing United Against Terrorism and al-Qaeda

  • Iraq's Nouri al-Maliki already wooing allies to try to form governing coalition

“It is your own conduct which will lead you to reward or punishment, as if you had been destined therefor.”


Available for checkout in holly library
Available for Checkout in Holly Library punishment, as if you had been destined therefor.”

  • Human Rights and the Conflict of Cultures: Western and Islamic Perspectives on Religious Liberty, by David Little, et al.

  • Higher Learning in Islam: The Classical Period, A.D. 700-1300, by Charles Michael Stanton

  • Muhammad and the Origins of Islam, F.E. Peters

  • Women In Muslim Societies: Diversity Within

  • Unity, Ed. Herbert L. Bodman et al.

  • Video: Islam, Empire of Faith

  • DVD: Malcolm X

  • DVD: Inside Islam (for the History Channel)

Bibliography punishment, as if you had been destined therefor.”

Couliano, I; Eliade, C.; Wiesner, H. (1991).

The Harpercollins Concise Guide to World Religion. Harpercollins Publications

Pollock, Robert (2002). The Everything World’s Religions Book: Discover the Beliefs,Traditions,and Cultures of Ancient and Modern Religions. F + W Publications, Inc.

Esposito, John L. (2002). What Everyone Needs To Know About Islam: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions, From One of America’s Leading Experts. Oxford University Press, Inc.

Religionfacts website (

Image resources
Image Resources punishment, as if you had been destined therefor.”










Judaism coming soon in the next installment of the world religions series
Judaism punishment, as if you had been destined therefor.”Coming soon in the next installment of the World Religions series