Islam is one of the most popular world religions that emerged in the 7th century in Arabia. Adherents of Islam are called Muslims. Currently, the total number of religious believers in the world ranges from 1,1 to 1,8 billion people, making Islam the second largest religion after Christianity (Mahdi). Muslims constitute the majority population in many countries of Asia and Africa. A distinguishing feature of Islam is its role as a social and cultural regulator. Accordingly, Islam is a monotheistic religion that is based on the teachings of the Quran, which connects both religious and social aspects of Muslim community life into a single cultural one.
The sources of Islamic teachings are the Quran and Sunnah. The Quran is a scripture, the revelation of God, which is transmitted to people through his prophet. Sunnah is sacred tradition, or a collection of texts (Hadith) containing Certificate of statements and actions of the Prophet Muhammad by the time when the prophet transmitted the Quran. Muslims confess the following statement, “There is no god but God. Muhammad is the messenger of God” (Ruthven 14). It is incorrect to think that Allah the same One God as in Christianity because the representation of Muslims about God is contrary to divine revelation. According to Muslim belief, God gave the Quran to Muhammad through the angel, and then it became scripture for Muslims. Muslims reject the Bible because the latter reveals the existence of one God but has no mention of Muhammad (Mahdi). They believe the Bible is partially distorted but cannot deny its the monotheistic knowledge that was borrowed by the Quran.
Islam currently divided into two main streams. Most of the Muslims belong to the Sunnis. In particular, these include about 90% of Muslims in the Middle East (Mahdi). Another major branch of Islam is Shias. Sunnis adhere to their acceptance of ahadith, religious practices and rules of conduct of a Muslim in all situations. They call this set “Sunnah” (Mahdi). Shias represent a party, which claims that the power of the community should belong only to the descendants of Muhammad, not elected officials, as it exists among the Sunnis. Modern Islam is also represented by the Wahhabis, acting under the slogan of “purifying” the Islam, and “returning” to the time of Muhammad’s orders.
The following five “pillars of Islam” require obedience from all the Muslims: reading Shahada, the five obligatory prayers a day, fasting during the month of Ramadan, Pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca at least once in a Muslim’s life, and donations to the needs of the community (Zakat) (Ruthven 28). In fact, Islam is an indissoluble unity of the faith, public-legal principles, and certain forms of culture. Islam is not peculiar to the division of spheres of life in the secular and religious ones. This led to the emergence undivided Sharia. It is the basic Islamic law, which is based on the interpretation of the Quran and Sunnah and contains the religious foundation, the rule of law, morality, and domestic regulations.
By the end of the life of Muhammad, Islamic theocratic state was formed and occupied the entire Arabian Peninsula – the Arab Caliphate. In the 30th of 7th century, the caliphate was a success in the fight against its main rivals – the Byzantine and Persian Sasanian Empire (Mahdi). As a result, the Islamic Ummah covers more than 120 countries, mostly in the West, South and South-East Asia, and North Africa. The majority of the population in 35 countries represent Islam. Moreover, the latter is the state religion in 28 countries, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, and others (Mahdi).
Therefore, Islam is the largest religion in the world that combines social and religious aspects. The Muslims believe in the one God and follow the principles of the Quran. Today, among the Muslim, there are many extremists, but Islam is not limited to this. Islam is the teachings of Muhammad, who preached the values of peace, kindness, and humanity.
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