The Religion of Islam
Islam remains one of the world’s most powerful, influential, and widespread religion - The Religion of Islam introduction. One of the few monotheistic religions that dates back for more than a millennium, the teachings of Islam is a religion founded upon the holy book of the Koran — a holy Scripture that the followers of Islam the words of Allah — or the one true God — transferred to humanity through the prophet Mohammed. Being one of the most powerful world religions today, and a religion that has significantly gained issues, popularity, and even anger because of recent world events, this paper shall be focusing on the religion specifically its history, its beliefs, it’s modern derivatives, and various research and commentary on the effects of Islam on today’s modern global environment.
The foundation of Islam itself reflects from its meaning — for the word is a translation originating from whether religion is built upon itself, which is the total surrender to the one true God. Therefore, in definition, Islam means submission to Allah and must demonstrate this worship by following his commands, the rituals that are required by the faith, and doing so without fear or fervor.
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After Christianity, Islam is considered to be a second largest religion in the world. As references in research into topic has pointed out — and has supported by scholars of comparative religion — it is only logical that Islam is the second largest world religion because of geography covers. Also, as one would observe, monotheistic religions date back to a single founding father — Abraham — who although plays perhaps the first or fifth significant role in the Roman Catholic faith, plays as the second most important figure in Islam, with the most important animal rituals by the religion drawing from the actions of Abraham as its foundation.
The articles of faith of their religion is fairly associated to monotheistic beliefs. One of the most important laws of Islam is that one must absolutely and truly believe in God — called Allah — and his revelations through his various messengers and the prophet Mohammed (Abdalati & Foundation, 1975). However, Islam, like the Roman Catholic faith, as many other derivatives and branches that are called sects that differ in minor details about the belief. However, literature on the topic points out that the differences among the various derivatives of Islam are non-spiritual in nature but rather deal with political and worldly ideologies where in the over all laws and beliefs are universal — unlike the various derivatives that are found in Christianity and the Roman Catholic Church.
Muslims — individuals who follow the Islamic faith — believe that Allah had uncovered his message to human beings through various profits, most important of which was Mohammed. Unlike Christianity, where in Jesus Christ is considered the son of God and is therefore defined and belongs to the holy Trinity, Mohammed being God’s prophet and messenger is human and not define. Here, miracles are able to be made by God’s profits even though they are not considered to be equal to him as compared to the Roman Catholic Trinity beliefs (Modood, 2003). Another interesting fact that could be found in Islam that connects directly to Roman Catholic comparative religion is that figure such as atom, Moses, and even Jesus Christ appear in the Koran into various discussions of the ideologies of the faith.
Although Islam is considered to be a truly global religion with followers ranging as far as the United States, Asia, and even Europe, it is mainly and popularly considered as an erratic and Middle Eastern belief exactly because it is in their geographic location where the religion boasts its roots.
The Koran, being the central foundation of the faith Islam, is essential to discuss especially in researching the religion. Much like the Bible, Muslims believe that the Koran is literally the word of God and the individuals who wrote them were direct messengers who copied directly what God had said and delivered to mankind. Unlike the Bible and other religious texts of monotheistic religion, an interesting detail about the Koran is that although there are many arguments on what were the actual historical and documentary origins, many researchers and scholars believe that it was first transported and transmitted through oral tradition in many Arabian countries had only written down when the religion was beginning to be too large to handle (Knysh, n.d.). However, comparing it with the Bible and other religious texts, scholars believe that the Koran has not changed significantly over the years since it was written or passed down orally because of the strict adherence to the words in the Koran being the direct words of God and are not open to human translation, interpretation, or even modification with respect to language and transmission mechanism.
Like the book of revelations of the Roman Catholic faith, Islamic religion brings heavy consideration and discussion in the resurrection and judgment of the soul. According to Muslim faith, the time will come that God would be calling upon human beings and followers of Islamic faith to join him in paradise. However, yet another interesting detail from disbelief in Islamic faith as compared to many other monotheistic — and even polytheistic religions today — is that they concept of Judgment Day focuses on the bodily resurrection other than the delivery of the Spirit to paradise. Researchers had indicated that the reason why the summit faith focuses bodily resurrection in Judgment Day rather than spiritual resurrection that is at best vague in Roman Catholic tradition is that the Koran had not been translated and modified over the years because of various political decisions, a peoples, and modifications in government which were heavy influencers of the Roman Catholic Scripture (Wilson, 1997).
However, much like heaven, the Islamic faith highlights to paradise as a place of joy and bliss. However, researchers who have studied the linguistic interpretations and comparisons of the Koran had identified that although other religious texts do not explicitly state the description and physical characteristics of paradise — the Koran explicitly states and describes paradise in order for its followers to have a visualization of what is it to be like in the realm of God. Literature and research on the subject of why the Koran deviates from traditional monotheistic text of being able to describe heaven in paradise is that ancient Arabians, being desert dwelling people, were used physical descriptions of locations because of the lack of visual stimulus in their specific geographic region (Lewis, 2002). A physical description of heaven and paradise plays an important role in followers of Islam to have something to look forward to after death if they follow all the laws of Islam rather than the desolate place they have been used to in their world.
However, among all the beliefs of Islam and the Muslim faith, there are five pillars which are essential to the religion. The first is the identification of faith, or the shahada — which states that Muslims testified that there is none worthy of worship except God — Allah — and testifies that Mohammed is the messenger and prophet of God. Also, another pillar of the Muslim faith that is fairly different from the methods of other monotheistic religions with respect to prayer — in which prayer is voluntary and could be done at whatever time the follower chooses — is Salah, or the ritual prayer which is performed five times a day facing towards Mecca. The intention of this ritual is for Muslims to focus their mind and heart on God and is captured as a personal communication with the divine in the form of prayer worship. However, some authors and researchers had indicated that this recall is an important part of Islam specifically because its followers are given an opportunity to follow the Koran word for word as had been advised by the holy Scripture. Rituals, in comparative religion, are essential in being able to associate oneself in a spirituality, and researchers have identified that the Muslim faith is no different from this, although it is regarded at the higher standard (Shirazi, 2001). The third pillar of Muslim faith is Zakat, or the giving of alms in donations to the poor and the needy.
The fourth and fifth pillars of the Islamic faith are the fasting during the month of Ramadan and the Haji, a ritual visit to the spiritual center of Islam — considered to be a divine pilgrimage — to the city of Mecca for every able-bodied Muslim makes a pilgrimage to this ritual center at least once in his lifetime. Although this may seem like any other ritual to viewers of the spirituality outside the Islamic faith, the journey and pilgrimage to make a plays an essential role and aspect to the belief that Mecca is loved by millions of visitors and pilgrims every year just to be able to perform the nine-day ritual to further reaffirmed their faith. Researchers had identified also that displays a central role in the foundation of their religion and its maintenance to original Scripture because a pilgrimage is one of the most powerful rituals since it involves journey and travel while at the same time combining all of the essential aspects of ritual that reaffirms one’s belief — visual stimulus, community, and the return journey (Wilson, 1997).
Abdalati, H., & Foundation, I. (1975). Islam in focus. American Trust Publications.
Knysh, A. D. (n.d.). Islamic mysticism. Brill.
Lewis, B. (2002). The roots of Muslim rage. POLICY-ST LEONARDS-, 17(4), 17-26.
Modood, T. (2003). Muslims and the Politics of Difference. The Political Quarterly, 74(s1), 100-115.
Shirazi, F. (2001). The veil unveiled: the hijab in modern culture. University Press of Florida.
Wilson, R. (1997). Economics, ethics, and religion: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim economic thought. New York University Press.