Islam – The second largest and fastest growing religion

Islam is a monotheistic religion articulated by the Qur’an and the teachings and normative example of Muhammad, who is considered the last prophet of God. An Islam adherent is called a Muslim. Islam has 05 pillars or 05 basic acts: the creed, daily prayers, almsgiving, fasting during the Ramadan month, and going on a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime. Islam is divided into 02 sects: Sunni (75-90%) and Shia (10-20%). While Sunni is deemed the orthodox Islam, Shia differs from Sunni in such a way that they only believe caliph Ali is the next prophet after Muhammad.

History of Islam in a nutshell!

Islam originated in Mecca, Arabia over 1,400 years ago.  Known as a monotheistic religion with Allah as the one and pervasive god, Islam has different prophets like Moses, Noah, Adam, and Jesus…. Of those, Muhammad is the last and most important one.

Muhammad was born in the Arabic nation. He grew up in a powerful tribe in Mecca. He started to propagate Islam in the year 610. However, he was persecuted by the leading Meccan authorities. This resulted in an emigration to the city of Yathrib, lately known as Medina. In Medina, he developed a political and religious authority and called for more followers. When Medina was strong enough, Muhammad led a troop to conquest Mecca. The Meccan authorities surrendered and the tribes of Arabia were united into a single religious polity. Thenceforth, more and more people converted to Muslims.

Doctrine of Islam

In Islamic doctrine, Allah is the One and Only. He is the Eternal, Absolute and there is none like unto Him. Allah is the term with no plural or gender used by Muslims and Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews to reference God. Like Jews, Muslims repudiate the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus, comparing it to polytheism. According to Muslims, there are no gods other than Allah. Everything in the world belongs to Allah. Allah created the sky dome without pillars, ruling over the Sun, the Moon and creating the Earth. Allah also created human beings and filled them with souls.

Islam also acquires many notions from other religions, especially Judaism, saying legends about the creation of the world, heaven, hell, angels, Satan, the last judgment, etc. To some extent, Islam imitates some rituals and traditions of Judaism.

There is a unique thing about Islam that Muslims do not worship photos of Allah. They do not place photos of Allah on altars as they believe that Allah is pervasive. No image could represent Allah. Thus, Islamic mosques are only decorated with Arabic letters, no pictures or photos. There is only a black stone inside Kaaba.

Regarding family relations, Islam allows polygamy in which a man can marry up to 04 wives. Muslims can also get married to Christians or Jews. The Qur’an sets the rights, responsibilities, and rules for Muslims to adhere to. It covers not only religious aspects but also scientific, social, legal, and moral aspects of societies. In the early days, Arabian countries had no laws other than the Qur’an.

Expansion of Islam

Nowadays, Islam is the second-largest religion in the world, following Christianity. It is regarded as the fastest-growing religion with 13% of Muslims living in Indonesia, the largest Muslim-majority country, 25% in South Asia, 20% in the Middle East, and 15% in Sub-Saharan Africa. Islam accounts for 1.6 billion adherents or 23% of the world population. Its converts and immigrant communities are found in almost every part of the world.

Islam is the national religion of many countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Turkey, Lebanon, Algeria, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, etc.

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