Islam in the modern world


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Profiles with Christian and Islamic symbols


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What is Islam? Islam is a practice of faith that began in the first half of the 7th century in what is now Saudi Arabia.  Those who follow and act upon the teachings of Islam are called Muslims.  Islam is a word that comes from the arabic word “Salema”; or peaceful submission and it means teachings in the way of peace through submission to the will of the one God, Allah.

Who was the prophet Muhammad?  What was his life like?  How did Islam grow to be connected to his tribal family? How did he become the founder of Islam?

The prophet Muhammad is the the founder of Islam. he lived as a Bedouin merchant in the Arabian desert in the early 7th century.  Both of his parents had past and then he was sent to his grand parents. They had past so he became orphan. His uncle made him marry the uncle’s daughter. Some time went past and he had married an older female who was wealthy. When he married the wealthy older women he looked to her as a mother figure. At 40 the angel Gabriel spoke to Muhammad and told him to be the prophet.  This is the same angel believed to have spoken to Mary the mother of Jesus.  Muhammad was confused by all of this at first.  Why would you ask an illiterate merchant to become the final messenger of the one God to his people on earth? At first many people started to follow him but there were others who did not trust him or his message.  His followers were forced out of Mecca to Medina.  Islam would quickly spread around the Asian and African world because of trade and politics.  Eventually Islam came to Europe and America as well.  In 2015 there were more than 322 million Muslims in the United States of America.

The Mountain of Light (Jabal al-Nūr), near Mecca, Saudi Arabia, where Muhammad experienced the presence of the archangel Gabriel and the process of the Qurʾānic revelation began.
The Mountain of Light (Jabal al-Nūr), near Mecca, Saudi Arabia, where Muhammad experienced the vision of the Angel Gabriel Adiput (A Britannica Publishing Partner)

Some people may not be aware that Muslims exist in almost every country around the world  Some interesting facts are that many of the Muslim population are black people. There are also some Latin American Muslims.

What is the difference between Sunni and Shia Islam?

How does Islam fit into the order of the history, culture and geography of the 5 major world religions?

Islam is the 5th religion historically of the 5 major religions.

The Islamic calendar employs the Hijri era whose epoch was retrospectively established as the Islamic New Year of AD 622. During that year, Muhammad and his followers migrated from Mecca to Yathrib (now Medina) and established the first Muslim community (ummah), an event commemorated as the Hijra. In the West, dates in this era are usually denoted AH (Latin: Anno Hegirae, “in the year of the Hijra”)

How did Islam spread around the world?  Where are most Muslims living today?

Islam spread through the politics and economics of empire.  The Prophet was a merchant so Islam has always traveled with trade.

How does Islam compare with other major religions?

HINDU: Hinduism started in India.  It is the oldest religion even though they don’t know when it was founded.  They believe in the reincarnation, but they are not really monotheist.  Instead they believe in many gods and goddesses that unite one god spirit known as Brahma.

JEWISH: The Jewish religion started in the middle east and was the first to say they believe in the prophets of the one God.  Jesus Christ was born to Jewish parents and was raised as a Jew.

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A Vietnamese image of Buddha the teacher of the way.

BUDDHIST:  Buddhism came out of Hinduism as a response to the caste system and the complicated gods and goddesses throughout India.  Buddhism rejects the social caste system and the idea that there is a God.  Instead their teacher and founder makes a way towards enlightenment that eliminates desires and suffering.  Buddhism traveled from India to East Asia.   

CHRISTIAN: God became man in the life of Jesus of Nazareth.   Jesus was crucified by the Jewish and ROman authorities for claiming to be king.  The last supper with bread and wine was a jewish passover meal and Jesus said he would be the final sacrifice for all people’s sins.  Christians follow the 10 Commandments of the Jewish law but Jesus added the Beatitudes.


MUSLIM :  Muhammad is the last prophet and messenger of the one God Allah Muslims who believe in Islam try to practice the 5 pillars of faith. 

In part of Muslim/ Islam culture they celebrate Ramadan. Ramadan is a holiday that starts in the late spring and ends in June. Like lent in the Christian faith it is a time period of fasting and repentance.  Kids,the elderly, pregnant, and sick people don’t participate in the fasting.  They start participating in the fasting part at 12 or if you start puberty earlier than 12 then that’s when you start.

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The western world, which is dominated by Christianity through most of modern history has a stereotype of Islam based on terrorism and religious extremism.  In fact, the current US President just signed an executive agreement that does not allow certain Muslims to enter the country.The reality of religious extremism and religious violence  is that Christians have done more violence against themselves than Muslims.




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The Sahara Desert, The Red Sea, The Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean all connected Islam to Africa very early in its history.
Pew Research Center: Geography of Islam

Key vocab

religious extremism result for Islam

the 5 basic belief  What.


Prophet: a messenger of the one God to the people

Mecca: the holy city of Muslim pilgrimage.  The most sacred place in mecca is in the ka’ba or mosque.

English: Kaaba at the heart of Mecca. As the n...
English: Kaaba at the heart of Mecca. As the night goes on pilgrims visiting the Holy House. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Medina:  Muhammad had migrated from Mecca to Medina because he was warned about the plot to assassinate him so he packed up and went to Medina.

Hijra: its prophet muhammad migration from mecca to Yathrib later called medina.

Hajj: is a pilgrimage to mecca at the last month of the year and the have to fulfill at least once in their lifetime .



What does the symbol below stand for?  Does it have to do with the Holy Days of Islam and the lunar cycle?

 “But righteous is he who believes in Allah and the Last Day and the Angels and the Scriptures and the Prophets.” — Qur’an 2:177

The predates by several thousand years,it was used in central Asia and siberia was used in the worship of sun moon and sky.           

Lawrence, Bruce B. “Islam in the United States.” World Geography: Understanding a Changing World, ABC-CLIO, 2017, Accessed 19 Jan. 2017