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Islam Chronology

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Life of the Prophet

Orthodox Caliphate

Omayyad Caliphate

Abbasid Caliphate

The Ottoman Empire

The Middle East in the Modern Era

 

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Islam Chronology

Islamic Beliefs

 

The Ka'aba in Mecca

Since its founding in the seventh century AD, the religious system known as Islam has come to dominate much of the world. Followers of the Islamic faith are referred to as Muslims, a title meaning, "one who submits to the will of Allah (God) or "believer". Islam is also referred to by synonymous titles which include Hanifism and Mohommedanism, the second attributing credit to the founder of the religion, Mohammed. Considered the apostle and final prophet of Allah, Mohammed is the central human figure of Islam.

Return to "Islam" Chronology

According to Islamic beliefs, the angel Gabriel visited Mohammed in order that Mohammed might know and declare the will of Allah. The sacred texts of the Muslims, called the Koran, is a record of the meditative utterances of Mohammed that his followers complied after his death in 632 AD. Mohammed never claimed to be divine and is not worshipped as such. In fact, the strict monotheism of Islam will not allow for the worship of any other being but Allah. This monotheistic view took root with Abraham, the great patriarch of the nation of Israel who is considered the first Muslim. Though the Muslims adhere to the authority of the prophets of Judaism and Christianity, they do not look upon Jesus Christ as the divine Son of God, but as a man like any other prophet . Interestingly, followers of Islam do not consider their religion to be completely separate from Christianity and Judaism. Muslims claim to worship the God of the Bible, professing Islam as the ultimate revelation of God.

Dome of the Rock
in Jerusalem

Without any concept of a church or priesthood, Muslims reject any kind of hierarchy within their belief system. Rather, the basis of the Islamic faith is the fulfillment five pillars of Islam. The first pillar insists that each Muslim at least once in his lifetime recite the profession of faith, "There is but one God and Mohammed is His prophet. Allah is great and Mohammed is His prophet". The second pillar is participation in the public prayers that occur corporately five times a day. The third pillar is the payment of the "zakat" which is a tax to help the poor. The fourth pillar requires fasting from daybreak until sunset during the month of Ramadan. The fifth pillar requires a hajj, or a pilgrimage, to the holy city of Mecca.


Bibliography:

Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. New York: Charles Scribner, 1920.

Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1910.


Notes:

Images from A. Farooki's Islamic Multimedia Gallery Aladdin Story


Edited by: Susie Okpe
Researched by: Kjerstin E. Olson
Written by: Keely A. McGowan
December 13, 1996

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