What Is the Origin of Islam in What Ways Does it Differ From Christianity? Term Paper

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Author David Shasha writes, "The story of Islam is one that reflects the emergence of religious obscurantism worldwide" (Shasha). Islam derives its name from the Arabic word 'salam,' which means peace, however some claim 'submission' is a more accurate translation (Introduction). A follower of Islam is called a Muslim, which is an Arabic word that refers to someone who submits to God's will (Introduction). The Arabic word, 'Allah' refers to 'the One True God.' Among the world's largest religions, Islam is the youngest. Islam and Christianity share similar beliefs, including the belief in one supreme God.

Most scholars believe that Islam was founded sometime during the early part of the 7th century, around 622 C.E., by Muhammad the Prophet, who lived from roughly 570-632 C.E. (Introduction). According to Islamic belief, the angel Jibril (Gabriel) appeared before Muhammad in Mecca and revealed the first revelation to him. Most Muslims believe that Islam existed before Muhammad was born, and that its origins actually date back to the creation of the world, with Muhammad simply being the last and greatest of a list of Prophets (Introduction).Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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Many unusual events are attributed to Muhammad's life. His mother claimed that when he was born, "there was a light that issued out of my pudendum and lit the places of Syria" (Introduction). According to legend, when he was a young child, Jibril (Gabriel) appeared, opened his chest, "removed his heart, and extracted a blood clot from it, and returned him to normalcy" (Introduction). While working on the merchant caravans between Syria and Arabia, he observed and learned about Judaism, Christianity, and the indigenous Pagan religions. When Muhammad was 40 years of age, he was again visited by Gabriel, and embraced the belief that he had been ordained a Prophet, whose task was to convert his fellow countrymen from paganism however opposition and increasing persecution forced him to moved north to Medina around 622 C.E. (Introduction). Through the use of military activity, political negotiation, and religious persuasion, Muhammad was soon the most powerful leader in Arabia and Islam became firmly established (Introduction). Islam had expanded to China, India and Spain by 750 C.E. And by 1550 had reached Vienna. Today, Muslims are largely concentrated from the West coast of Africa to the Philippines (Introduction).

Many people believe that Islam is the same faith taught by the ancient Prophets, Abraham, David, Moses and Jesus, and that Muhammad's role was to purify the faith by removing foreign ideas that had been added in error (Introduction). The two main texts of the Islamic faith are the Qur'an and the Hadith. The Qur'an is believed to be the words of God as revealed to Muhammad by Gabriel, and the Hadith is a collection of the sayings of Muhammad (Introduction).

Islam is based on six fundamental beliefs: a single omnipotent God; the angels; the divine scriptures; the messengers of God; the Day of Judgment; and the supremacy of God's will (Introduction). Muslims believe that God did not have a son and consider the Christian concept of the deity of Jesus to be blasphemous; moreover Jesus was not crucified on the cross, but escaped crucifixion (Introduction). They believe that people are driven to sin by Satan, and they avoid alcohol, illegal drugs, pork, and gambling (Introduction). The Five Pillars of Islam are: to recite the shahadah (the creed) and perform the salat… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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