Islam: A Brief Introduction

Born in Mecca in 570 CE, the prophet Muhammed is thought to be the last in a line of great prophets who, over thousands of years, exposed humanity to the Islamic faith. The Qur’an, the holy Muslim scripture, documents the preachings of Muhammed beginning with the customary story in which the angel Jibreel visits Muhammed in a cave, and is immediately enlightened to the words and the will of Allah, until his death 22 years later in 632. Fundamentally, the Qur’an states that Allah, the Islamic deity, is the sole creator and receiver of worship, and that all lives should be lived in accordance to his will.

By 622, Muhammed and his teachings had reached a level of popularity which threatened the authorities of Mecca. Muhammed and his followers were forced to journey to the city of Medina, a migration that is now called the Hijrah. Eventually, through his preachings of the words of Allah, Muhammed gained a base of followers so large and loyal that he was able to return to Mecca, conquer the city, and, from that point on, was widely considered the final Prophet of Allah.

The six basic principles of Islam are as follows:

—The belief in Allah as the sole deity

— The belief in the existence of angels

— The belief in the holy books

— The belief in the Prophets

(Prophets other than Muhammed are Jesus (Isa), David (Dawud), Moses (Musa), and Abraham (Ibrahim)

—The Belief in the Day of Judgement

—The Belief in Predestination

(Although Muslims believe that Allah is aware of everything that will happen, every individual still has the power of free choice)

Sources:

“Prophet Muhammed (570-632).” BBC Religions. Last modified August 8, 2011.
Accessed February 12, 2015. http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/
history/muhammad_1.shtml.

“The Prophet Muhammad and the Origins of Islam.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Last modified 2015. Accessed February 12, 2015. http://www.metmuseum.org/
learn/for-educators/publications-for-educators/art-of-the-islamic-world/unit-one/
the-prophet-muhammad-and-the-origins-of-islam.

“The Central Message of the Qur’an.” Association for Quranic Understanding. Last
modified June 4, 2011. Accessed February 12, 2015.
http://quranicunderstanding.com/2011/06/04/the-central-message-of-the-quran/.

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