Download Major Religions of the World: Christianity And Islam

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Date _____________Day ________________ Period _________
Major Religions of the World - Islam
Read and take notes below &/or
by highlighting.
Islam is based on the life and teachings of the prophet Muhammad. Muhammad lived in
Arabia during the early 600's A.D. Before his time, the people in the region worshiped
Allah (God) as well as other deities. But Muhammad said Allah was the only God. To be
clear, Muslims (also spelled Moslums) do NOT worship Mohammad in any way.
According to Islamic tradition, Muhammad had the first of several visitations by angels
about 610. The angel commanded Muhammad to preach the message of Allah to the
people of his country. Muhammad did not want to do go out and preach to his own. He
did not want to tell his friends and family that their beliefs were wrong. The Muhammad
finally started preaching when the angel insisted he go. Muhammad began preaching in
Mecca. The tribe who controlled the Mecca opposed Muhammad. To avoid being killed,
Muhammad fled to the city of Medina. Muhammad's journey from Mecca to Medina is
called the Hegira and is one of the central events in the founding of Islam.
In 630, Muhammad led an army to Mecca. He offered the people of the city generous
peace terms. As a result, his forces were able to take the city with little resistance. He
made Mecca the sacred city and center of Islam. After Muhammad's death in 632, his
friend and disciple became the first caliph (leader) of Islam. Within 100 years of
Muhammad's death, Islam had spread throughout the Middle East, across northern Africa,
and into Spain. In 732, Muslim and Christian armies fought a major battle near Tours,
France. The Muslims were defeated, and Western Europe remained Christian.
Muslim missionaries and traders carried Islam to India and other parts of Asia. In a
“second wave” of Islam from the 1000's to the 1200's, Islam spread into western Africa.
Muslims also took permanent control of the Middle East. They controlled Jerusalem.
Today, Islam is the major religion of nearly all countries in northern Africa and the Middle
East. It is also the chief religion in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Pakistan
Muhammad died in 632 CE, but he is considered by Muslims to be the final prophet, the
one whom God (or Allah) gave his final revelations, long after the beginning of
Christianity in Europe. The Koran is a holy book; it is scripture to Muslims. While most
Christians view the Bible as a holy book, the Koran is considered to contain the holy
words of Allah. It is forbidden in Islamic religion to make graven images or idols (statues)
or other representations of God, or Allah. Muslims are called to prayer five times a
day. Some Muslims choose to pray at their church, properly called a mosque,
Following the death of Muhammad in 632 CE, followers of Islam disagreed over the
rightful successor to lead the religion. The split resulted in two sides—the Shiites and the
Sunnis. Shiites, (or Shias) believe that the leader of the Muslims should only be a direct
descendent of the Prophet Muhammad. Modern Shia Muslims believe that their holy
Imam is all powerful. Sunni Muslims, on the other hand, do not have formal church
leaders. Shias make up only 10 to 15 percent of the worldwide population of Muslims, but
are the majority in countries like Iran and Iraq.
Sunnis and Shias do agree on the core fundamentals of Islam—the Five Pillars—and
recognize each others as Muslims. The five Pillars include: 1) believing in One God
called Allah, and that Mohammed is the last and greatest prophet 2) Helping the poor 3)
praying regularly, 4) fasting and reflection during their holiest season & 5) taking a
pilgrimage to the Mecca, the holy city for Muslims. Muslims belive that by focusing their
thoughts on doing good works and serving others that they will someday be able to join