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Essay: Explain the practices and beliefs of Islam. Use historical Context.

Islam is a religion that has existed for millions of years. The followers believed that there is one God and Muhammad is his messenger. Muhammad was deeply troubled by the idols worship of Arabs and the moral ills of society. When he was about 40, he was meditating and heard a voice. According to Muslim the belief the voice was that of the angel Gabriel it said, “Proclaim.” When Muhammad asked what should I proclaim the voice responded with proclaim in the name of God.

Muhammad was a young man born in Mecca about the year 570. Orphaned at an early age, Muhammad was cared for by his uncle. In his youth he worked as a shepherd among the Bedouins. Later he led caravans across the desert for merchants. When he was 25, Muhammad married Khadija. It was at age 40 when he had his first vision. As spoken in paragraph 1, it was believed the angel Gabriel asking him to spread the message of God spoke him to. This left Muhammad puzzled. How could an illiterate merchant become the messenger of God? His wife encouraged him to accept his call. Muhammad devoted the rest of his life to spreading Islam.

Islam has a book similar to that of the Holy Bible. It is called the Quran. To Muslims, the Quran contains the sacred text as spoken to Muhammad from god. The Quran not only teaches about God, but about how to lead a good, faithful, life. It sets harsh penalties for stealing or murdering.

The Muslims also follow the strict rules of the Five Pillars.

1. There is no God, but God and Muhammad is his messenger. 2. Daily Prayer 3. Giving Charity to the Poor 4. Fasting from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan 5. To perform the Hajj

Muslims believe that God sent other prophets besides Muhammad, including Jesus, Abraham, and Moses but Muhammad was that last and greatest prophet. The second pillar requires daily prayer towards the holy land of Mecca. Although Muslims can pray anywhere they prefer to pray in Muslims houses of worship called Mosques. The fourth is fasting during the holy time of Ramadan. The fifth pillar is to perform the hajj. The hajj is a pilgrimage to Mecca. All Muslims are expected to visit the Kaaba at least once. Still some Muslims look on Jihad or effort in God’s service, as another duty. Some have mistakenly translated jihad as “holy war.” In fact, it may include acts of charity or an inner struggle to achieve, as well as any battle in defense of Islam.

Some people see Muhammad as the greatest prophet of God still others disagree. As long as Islam has been around there have been many differences between many religions. But one similarity between Christianity and Islam is the five pillars and the Ten Commandments. And It is possible that Muhammad was not trying to start a new religion, but prophesize a new one.

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