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  • Traces its beginnings back to Adam
  • Humanity strayed from original monotheism
  • Prophets were sent to call people back to original monotheistic faith. Abraham
  • One of the most important prophets was Abraham
  • With his son, Ishmael, built Ka’bah in Mecca as a place of worship for the one God (Allah)
Pivotal Belief:

Summed up in the shahadah:  "There is no God but God (Allah) and Muhammad is his messenger."

  • Muhammad was the last prophet
  • Born in Mecca around 570
  • Beginning in 610 he received revelations that are recorded in the Qur’an  Qur’an is the “final word” and serves a the culmination and correction of scriptures of Judaism and Christianity
  • Left Mecca for Yathrib (Medina) where he established the first Islamic state in Medina in 622. Thie exodus to Median became known as the hegira or hijrah.
The Qur’an
  • Literally “reading” or “reciting”
  • About the length of the Christian New Testament arranged in 114 sections
  • Qur'an is the direct Word of Allah (God) to humanity through the prophet Muhammad. It is the uncreated (eternal) speech of God
Major Teachings of Qur’an
  • Oneness of Allah
  • Humanity should submit/accept Allah’s will.
  • At the last judgment each person will be held accountable for his/her deeds
  • Worst sin: equating anything to Allah

Duties required of all Muslims are known as the Five Pillars of Islam

  • Confession of faith (shahadah): “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His prophet.”
  •  Daily Prayers (Five times each day)
  • Zakat: giving 2.5% of one’s goods to those in need.
  • Fasting during Ramadan
  • Pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj)
Branches of Islam
Fairly early in its history, Islam divided into two main branches.  This division was largely the result of disagreement over the selection and nature of Muhammad's successor.
  • Sunnis (constitute majority of Muslims (80%),
  • Shiites (a minority centered in present day Iran and parts of Iraq).

The Sufis are a third group within Islam may overlap both Sunnis and Shiites. This movement focuses on mysticism and a direct experience of God.